Hand-foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in Okinawa
Okinawa Prefecture Department of Health issued a warning for a hand-foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in Okinawa on Jun. 24th.
According to the department, reports from 34 medical organizations counted 292 cases of the disease during the week from Jun. 13th through 17th. It is the highest number since 2012.
The most affected areas are Yaeyama, and the southern and middle parts of Okinawa main island including Naha. There have been a total of 913 cases in the prefecture from Jan. 1st through Jun. 19th. 39.9% of the patients were less than one year old, 19.5% were 1-2 years old.
The hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common infectious viral illness that mostly affects infants and children younger than 5 years of age. The symptoms include fever, mouth sores and a skin rash on hands and feet. Children get it easily especially in the summer. In rare cases it can lead to meningitis, which is the reason for the warning. The virus spreads through sneezing and coughing, and parents of small children are advised to wash their hands carefully after changing diapers of their infants.