Viral HFMD outbreak affects the young in Thimphu

A very contagious viral infection is on the loose and has been affecting young children in Thimphu. According to health officials the cases have been reported only in Thimphu so far. This has led to major concerns among the parents and the Early Childcare and Development Centers (ECCD) in Thimphu.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) as it is commonly known, is common with temperate climates and is seen more often from spring to fall. This infection characterizes itself by causing fever, mouth ulcers, and red spots on hands and feet of children. In most cases there is recovery without serious results however there are rare case of severe complications and even rare deaths according to medical literature.

So far the parents of the children who have caught this infection have been advised not to send their children to the learning centers or schools until they have recovered fully as it can be easily spread through close contact, coughing, sneezing or contact with blister fluid and feces.

Doctor Tashi Choden, said that she receives about 5 to 7 cases on an average every day in her chamber alone. There over 4 other chambers in the pediatric department of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

According to the doctors, it has been over two weeks since the first cases of HFMD have started coming in. The Doctors advice on proper sanitation including hand washing and disinfecting dirty surfaces as measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The person suffering is supposed to refrain from going around as HFMD is highly contagious.

Yogita Gurung, Principal of Little learners ECCD said “We are aware of it but so far none of the students have been reported sick due to HFMD from our centre, but to prevent it anyways we are not allowing children to play outside the vicinity and are keeping their hygiene in check.”

Similarly, other ECCDs are also going ahead with their preventives measure and are aware of the measures to carry out.

HFMD is mostly reported in East and South East Asia however this is the first time it has been reported in Bhutan.

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