By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Monday that he is likely to declare an outbreak of the hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) in the province after cases increased by 6,300 percent this year.
“According to the PHO, there is an increase of 6,300 percent, that really is very alarming,” Lacson said.
Provincial Health Office head Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, provincial health officer, said the increase in HFMD cases indicates it could be easily transmitted now that there is face-to-face interaction, especially among children in school.
“I will follow their recommendation, they are in a better position to advise to declare an outbreak, they are the experts, I will have to follow their judgment,” Lacson said.
He urged the municipal and city health offices of the different localities in the province to inform their respective constituents about containing the spread of HFMD.
In the fifth morbidity week this year alone, Negros Occidental recorded 85 new cases.
HFMD cases increased from five last year to 315 cases this year, according to a report from the Provincial Health Office.
The alert threshold is at three cases while the epidemic threshold is at five cases, according to the PHO.
The PHO report further indicated that Kabankalan City has the highest number of HFMD cases with 73.
HFMD is common among young children under five years old, although anyone could still get infected.
Although HFMD is very contagious, the illness is, however, not serious.
Its symptoms include fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters on hands, feet, and buttocks.
However, severe symptoms such as meningitis, encephalitis and polio may occur, the PHO said.