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Public urged to stay vigilant against hand, foot and mouth disease and enterovirus 71 infection during peak season

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (July 10) reminded members of the public to maintain vigilance and take preventive measures against hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection, as the latest surveillance data showed that HFMD and EV 71 activities remained at high level after Hong Kong entered the peak season.

     "As of July 9, there have been 423 institutional HFMD outbreaks in 2013. The number is higher than those of the previous two years in the corresponding period. Among the laboratory confirmed outbreaks reported this year, most of the cases are associated with Coxsackie A viruses, including Coxsackie A6, A10 and A16 viruses," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     Meanwhile, five cases of enterovirus 71 infection and three cases of severe paediatric enterovirus infection (other than EV71 and poliovirus) have been reported during the same period this year.

     "The latest data from the sentinel surveillance based at private medical practitioners, general outpatient clinics, child care centres and kindergartens, and Accident and Emergency Departments in public hospitals also show that HFMD activities remained at high level," the spokesman added.

     The spokesman said that the CHP will tomorrow (July 11) send another round of letters to doctors, child care centres, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools to alert them to the most current HFMD and EV71 infection situation and provide advice on prevention and control.

     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 website ( for more information on HFMD and EV71 infection.

Ends/Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:23


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