Hand, foot and mouth disease hits Savannah Primary

Following an outbreak of the highly contagious hand, foot and mouth disease at West End Primary School in Cayman Brac, students at Savannah Primary School have now contracted the virus, according to an email school administrators sent to parents.

Public health officials last week said in an advisory that they continue to monitor cases of the virus that have now been found in at least two schools in the Cayman Islands.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common illness for infants and children under 5 years old, according to the public health advisory, and is characterized by a blister-like rash in and around the mouth, on the palms and fingers of the hands, and the soles of the feet.

The email from Savannah Primary School, dated Oct. 2, states, “Understandably, the concerns are real about the Foot, Hand and Mouth disease in the Year 2 classroom.” School officials told parents they sanitized the school and continue to monitor the situation.

The Public Health Department advisory states, “The Public Health team is working closely with schools to assist with containing the spread of the virus, and active weekly surveillance is being pursued.”

The virus has no vaccine, but symptoms such as fever or pain should be treated with over-the-counter medications and mouthwash can help numb blisters in the mouth, according to Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.

He said people should wash their hands frequently and clean and sanitize surfaces and items like toys that may have come in contact with someone who has hand, foot and mouth disease.