CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Zambales Provincial Health Office (PHO) is stepping up efforts to curb the rising hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases.

Dr. Noel Bueno, chief of the Zambales (PHO), said on Thursday they are continuously orienting municipal health officials and local government units in the province to discuss ways to prevent HFMD.

"We had local health board meeting in San Marcelino town yesterday (Wednesday) where we discussed HFMD cases and ways on how to prevent it,” Bueno said in a radio interview.

He also said continuous coordination and case investigation were done to ensure the proper dissemination of information on the disease.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that a total of 186 HFMD cases were reported in the province from January to November this year.

Of the number, 175 were children aged five years old and below.

Bueno called on the public to always wash hands, maintain proper hygiene and keep the environment clean to prevent HFMD.

The DOH encouraged parents to have their children checked by a physician if they suspect HFMD.

The most common symptoms of HFMD include fever, mouth sores, and skin rash, usually on the palms of hands and soles of the feet or on the buttocks, arms and legs. (PNA)