Coxsackievirus cases on the rise – Paediatricians

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With the global focus is on warnings and updates regarding Monkeypox cases detected in Europe, local paediatricians are facing another common disease which causes blisters to appear on the hands, feet, and mouths of young children.

Paediatricians at Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) have treated over 100 cases of Coxsackievirus (hand, foot, and mouth disease) to date. Consultant Paediatrician, Dr. Deepal Perera yesterday (6) said, the disease was common and the hospital had patients with viral infection at least once or twice a year and added that it was like chickenpox.

It is very contagious. The disease can be contracted with skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, unwashed hands, and surfaces contaminated by faeces, and through droplets of fluid sprayed into the air when sneezing or coughing, he said. Also, there was no vaccine against it. 

The Consultant Paediatrician urged parents, “Not to send children with HFM disease to day care centres, Montessori, or schools.”    

Dr. Perera said a majority of patients were six months to 12 years of age. The hospital has seen patients as young as five months to seven years with HFM, he added. Symptoms include fever for about two to three days and a reddish rash that develops like small blisters. He said patients also experience a loss of appetite.

Some children may lose their nails, therefore, parents should give them syrup that contains zinc. He said children may find it difficult to eat spicy food due to mouth sores caused by the infection. Parents could give them jelly, yoghurt, and cold food.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne