Health | Gov’t cautions public against spread of infectious diseases

Following its discovery of three separate mass infection cases of influenza and enterovirus, the Health Bureau (SSM) has issued a caution to the public on the need for preventive measures.

The bureau was alerted of all cases on Tuesday. The influenza cases happened at Our Lady of Fatima Girls’ School and St Paul School, involving a total of 15 students. The three boys and 12 girls are aged between six and eight.

Their symptoms started on June 29, including fever, cough and sore throat. All of them have undergone medical consultation.

Meanwhile, the case of enterovirus infection involved seven small children. The six boys and one girl attend the Women’s Federation Kindergarten on Rua do Campo. They are aged between two and three.

Symptoms started to occur on June 29. One child was hospitalized due to other reasons, according to the SSM, while samples of secretion were collected for further medical tests.

Sanitization has been conducted on all concerned premises under the instruction and supervision of the SSM.

The SSM said that infections of enterovirus can be caused by several types of viruses, such as coxsackievirus, echovirus and EV71 enterovirus. Normally, infection is prevalent in the summer. It can cause less severe complications like hand, foot and mouth disease and herpangina, as well as more severe ones, such as myocarditis and aseptic meningitis.

Hand, foot and mouth disease mainly affects children under the age of five. The incubation period varies from three to seven days, and is transmitted by direct contact with infected feces, saliva or contact with contaminated materials.

Due to the close contact of children in kindergartens, especially when they are playing, an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease becomes a possible occurrence.

In the initial period, symptoms such as fever, sore throat, small vesicles or red pustules appear on the hands, feet and buttocks, with no pain or itching, and herpes in the mouth, causing ulcers. In the period of seven to 10 days, the vesicles and pustules gradually disappear, and the patient is cured.

According to the information disseminated by the Health Bureau, preventive measures include sanitization and washing hands regularly, maintaining good airflow and ventilation, as well as using facemasks and seeking medical assistance when suspicious symptoms occur. Staff reporter

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