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CHP investigates hand, foot and mouth disease outbreak in kindergarten-cum-child care centre in Sha Tin
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (October 12) investigating an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in a kindergarten-cum-child care centre in Sha Tin, and again urged the public, schools and institutions to maintain strict hand, personal and environmental hygiene.

     The 20 affected children, 13 boys and seven girls aged from 3 to 5, have developed fever, rashes over hands and feet, and oral ulcers since September 10. All sought medical attention and one of them has been discharged upon hospitalisation. All of them have been in stable condition.

     The stool specimen of one affected child tested positive for enterovirus while the respiratory specimen of another affected child also tested positive for rhinovirus/enterovirus upon laboratory testing.

     Officers of the CHP have conducted a site visit to the school and advised the management on necessary infection control and preventive measures. The school has been put under medical surveillance. Investigations are ongoing.

     "HFMD is common in children while adult cases may also appear. It is usually caused by enteroviruses (EVs) such as Coxsackie virus and EV71. It is clinically characterised by maculopapular rashes or vesicular lesions occurring on the palms, soles and other parts of the body such as the buttocks and thighs. Vesicular lesions and ulcers may also be found in the oral cavity. Sometimes patients present mainly with painful ulcers at the back of the mouth, namely herpangina, without rash on the hands or feet," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     To prevent HFMD, members of the public, and especially the management of institutions, should take heed of the following preventive measures:

• Maintain good air circulation;
• Wash hands before meals and after going to the toilet or handling diapers or other stool-soiled materials;
• Keep hands clean and wash hands properly, especially when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions, such as after sneezing;
• Cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and oral discharges properly;
• Clean children's toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently with diluted household bleach (by adding one part of household bleach containing 5.25 per cent sodium hypochlorite to 49 parts of water), followed by rinsing or wiping with clean water;
• Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted;
• Avoid going to overcrowded places; and
• Parents should maintain close communication with schools to let them know the latest situation of the sick children.

     The public may visit the CHP's page on HFMD and EV71 infection and Public Health Advice for Play Facilities for more information.
Ends/Thursday, October 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:30
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