(Infographic from Albay PHO's Facebook page)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Albay Provincial Health Office (PHO) is closely monitoring the 127 hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) cases recorded to date, mostly among young residents in the province.

Dr. Nataniel Rempillo, Albay Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief, in an interview on Friday, said continuous coordination and case investigation were being conducted by their personnel to ensure the proper dissemination of information on HFMD in the affected areas.

"Health education on HFMD was conducted by PHO Sanitary chief Engr. William Sabater, disinfection in schools, and other information relevant to the disease were being cascaded to different local government units (LGUs) in the province that recorded (HFMD cases). The information given is for their actions to be taken to prevent the increase of the cases," Rempillo said.

He said for the prevention of the disease, strict handwashing, and hand hygiene using alcohol-based sanitizers must be done.

"Just like the protocols being implemented for Covid-19, we must also observe and practice the minimum public health standards like mask-wearing, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, disinfection of high surfaces touch and shared items, avoidance of close contact, like kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, touching of skin lesions with infected people," Rempillo said.

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.

HFMD is transmitted through person-to-person contact, including contact with infected fecal material, nose, and throat secretions or respiratory droplets.

Rempillo said HFMD does not come from pigs or any other animals and is instead caused by contact with surfaces and objects contaminated by enteroviruses.

"There's no specific treatment for this, usually it's mild and self-limiting, and most cases recover on their own in seven to 10 days. They are considered non-infectious when they have been afebrile for more than 24 hours and all the lesions have dried and healed. It is not a deadly disease," he said.

Rempillo also said HFMD is an infectious disease that occurs more often in children because of their nature of being playful.

Albay PHO recorded HFMD cases from Jan. 1 to Nov. 18, 2022 in the following areas: Camalig-14; Daraga-34; Legazpi City-43; Malilipot-four; Oas-13; Polangui-nine; and Tabaco City-10. (PNA)