SYMPTOM. Hand blisters are among the signs of hand, foot and mouth disease. The Iloilo Provincial Health Office here said they are stepping up their info drive to help prevent the spread of the disease with 1,115 cases recorded from Jan. 1 to Feb. 4 this year. (PNA photo by PGLena)

ILOILO CITY – The Iloilo Provincial Health Office (PHO) is calling on parents to refrain from sending their children to school or daycare centers once they manifest signs and symptoms of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) to prevent its spread.

PHO head Dr. Maria Socorro Quiñon, in a media interview on Wednesday, said the provincial epidemiology and surveillance unit (PESU) as of Feb. 4 already recorded 1,115 cases since Jan. 1 this year.

“Only (a) few municipalities are left with no cases. They are Dingle, Ajuy, Carles, Concepcion, Estancia, Guimbal, San Enrique, San Joaquin and Sara,” she said.

The towns with high cases included Sta. Barbara, Barotac Viejo, Badiangan, Alimodian, Calinog, Bingawan, Leon, Passi City, Dumangas and Pavia and Banate.

“Those affected are mostly from age group belonging to 1 to 10 years old. Out of the 1,115 cases, 1,023 are from this age group, usually toddlers, pre-schoolers, and daycare,” she added.

Of the cases, the medical officer said most likely over 600 have already recovered since they were first reported during the first three weeks of January while the 441 new cases recorded from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 are still active.

She said the municipal health offices and the PHO have been working on the ground for the conduct of advocacies and information education campaigns in barangays (villages) and schools to prevent its spread.

Parents are urged to keep their children at home if they have symptoms like blisters on hands, feet and fever, and seek medical consultation in their rural health units.

One of the efficient ways to prevent the spread is frequent handwashing and disinfection using soap and water, sanitizer, or alcohol.

Amid the high cases, she said there is no need to declare an outbreak. (PNA)