New Delhi: Affected classrooms in primary schools could be shut down to prevent the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), suggested guidelines issued by the government on Wednesday.
The National Centre for Disease Control further said in its guidelines that principals, teachers and supervisors should be alert and look out for children with fever, rashes and blisters on palms and soles and screen them before they go to the class.
However, the entire school need not close down as HFMD in older children is usually very mild and so far no complication has been documented from this age group, the guidelines said.
Schools must ensure that infected children remain away from the institution for at least ten days and must be certified free from infection by a registered medical practitioner prior to returning to school.
Some preventive measures mentioned for infection control include maintaining proper hygiene including mandatory hand washing after contact with patient, appropriate cleanliness during diaper changes, personal items such as spoons, cups and utensils should not be shared, patients with HFMD should be isolated, articles such as toys contaminated by infected cases should be disinfected with 0.5 per cent sodium hypochlorite solutions etc.
The symptoms as mentioned by the Centre include mouth or tongue ulcer, rashes or vesicles on palms and soles and fever.
Hospitalisation can be required when the child is unable to tolerate oral feeds and there is a need for intravenous hydration, when the child is clinically very ill, increased lethargy, increased drowsiness, change in sensorium and/or seizures and there is a suspicion of cardiac complications (myocarditis like low blood pressure, low pulse volume, heart rhythm abnormalities etc.
These guidelines were issued after a prominent school in the city closed its nursery wing after some of its students reportedly contracted hand, foot and mouth disease as a precautionary measure.
Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in Lodi Estate has closed the nursery wing after eight of its students reportedly contracted hand, foot and mouth disease.
The school administration has decided to keep the nursery wing closed till October 16.
Meanwhile, city doctors claim to have witnessed a rise in the number of hand, foot and mouth disease cases among children since the middle of August.
"We have come across at least 25 cases this month. There has been a spurt since August-middle. Currently, an one-year- old girl suffering from this disease is admitted in our hospital.
"Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by an entero virus named coxsachie A. It is a viral infection that usually affects babies and children mostly. Children suffering from the disease have symptoms like mouth ulcers, rashes and blisters on body parts, sore throat and a poor appetite," Dr Anil Sachdev, Director Paediatric, critical care and respiratory medicine, Sir Ganga Ram hospital said.
"The disease is contagious and mainly spreads through respiratory transmission. It is caused mainly due to poor hygeine and parents should ensure that if their children are affected with the disease, they remain indoors and don't mix with other children. We are getting a couple of cases from various schools every day," Dr Vidya Gupta, senior paediatric consultant at Apollo Hospital said.