By John Noel E. Herrera
The province of Iloilo has recorded 431 cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) from Jan 1 to Aug 6, 2022, which is 7,083 percent higher compared to six recorded cases in the same period last year.
According to the Iloilo Provincial Health Office, 10 towns recorded high numbers of HFMD cases.
The town of San Dionisio logged the most cases with 66 followed by Leon (26) and San Rafael (23).
Data also indicated that the municipalities of Conception, Lemery, and Pavia recorded 21 cases, each, while the towns of Banate and New Lucena both have 19 cases; San Joaquin with 17, and Cabatuan with 14.
Meanwhile, the towns of Alimodian, Balasan, Batad, Carles, Estancia, Leganes, Oton, San Enrique, and San Miguel remain HFMD-free.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon said that the surge in cases this year is due to the change in the “health-seeking behavior” of people as they do not hesitate in seeking help from rural health centers when they have HFMD symptoms.
Quiñon also stressed the importance of good hygiene and advised parents to make sure that their children are observing it, such as frequent hand washing to lessen the risk of catching the disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HFMD is a common viral illness that mostly affects infants and children below five years old.
It is usually a mild disease, and nearly all patients recover in seven to 10 days without medical treatment.
The disease is also commonly spread through droplets or direct contact with nasal discharges, saliva, feces, and fluid from the rashes of an infected individual.
The symptoms also include a fever that may last 24 to 48 hours, painful mouth sores and rashes, blisters on the hands, feet, and buttocks, sore throat, irritability in infants and toddlers, and loss of appetite.