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Preventive Measures for Foot And Mouth Disease

Apr 03, 2017

Preventive Measures for Foot And Mouth Disease

Foot and mouth disease (FMD), better known as hand, foot and mouth disease is commonly caused by non polio enteroviruses called coxsackievirus A16. Oral ingestion of the virus leads to the disease. The disease spreads by person-to-person contact through saliva, stool, nasal secretions or throat discharge, fluid from blisters and sometimes through respiratory droplets after a cough or sneeze. The disease is very common in child care setting because of hygiene issues like diaper changes, potty training etc. Also the disease is easily transmitted to the child as he/she frequently puts hand in mouth. The incubation period is 3 to 6 days. Signs and symptoms include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, sore throat, red rash with blisters all on palms, soles, buttocks, painful red blisters inside mouth. In temperate climate, the outbreak usually occurs in summer and autumn but in tropical climates, outbreaks occur all round the year. This disease is not related in any way to foot-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease, which is an infectious viral disease of farm animals. The outbreak of FMD in 2001 in the UK was due to the Type-O-pan-Asian strain of the disease and witnessed more than 2000 reported cases.

Prevention & Treatment

Currently there is no curative treatment for the disease and usually it gets cured on its own. Symptomatic treatment is done with analgesics etc. OTC medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol or others); ibuprofen (Motrin IB /Advil) helps to relieve general discomfort. Eating/drinking cold things like ice cream, Ice pops, cold beverages, etc., brings relief. Salty or spicy foods, Acidic fruits and beverages like citrus fruits, soda should be avoided. Rinsing mouth with warm water helps.

Latest Developments

According to Lancet, a group of researchers in Jiangsu province and Beijing has prepared a vaccine against hand, foot and mouth disease from deactivated enterovirus 71 (EV71). The vaccine was successfully tested on 10,000 children and it prevented 90% of the cases of disease.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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