Published Date: 2007-05-29 13:00:01
Subject: PRO/EDR> Hand, foot & mouth disease - Maldives
Archive Number: 20070529.1719
HAND, FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE - MALDIVES
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sun 27 May 2007
Source: Minivan News, Maldives [edited]
More than 30 cases of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) have been
confirmed in pre-schools across Male in the past 2 weeks. This
non-fatal disease, which is spread by contact with infected body
fluids, spreads rapidly in unclean public spaces. [A previous HFMD
epidemic] led to the closure of Male schools for 2 weeks.
"We have received 10 confirmed reports of HFMD. We called parents on
their child's absence and they told us that their children have been
diagnosed with HFMD," says Zuleikha Ali, Pre-school Head teacher of
Ameer Ahmed School. Mohamed Zubair, Headmaster of Galholhu Madhrasa,
says even though the school has not received official reports,
absentees have been high in pre-school in the past 2 weeks. "Some
pre-schoolers who have recovered have started attending this week," he says.
The moderately contagious illness has not yet been reported at any
primary or secondary schools, but all are monitoring the situation
closely. "We have not had any reports of HFMD yet. On Thursday [24
may 2007], teachers were asked to look into the matter, but no
reported cases yet. The Health Room records do not show HFMD either,"
says Rahma Abdul Rahman, Assistant Principal of Iskandhar school.
Ibrahim Shaheem, of the Department of Public Health, told Miadhu
[News] 30 suspected cases had been seen on Thursday [24 May 2007].
Shaheen said he could not confirm whether it was HFMD at this stage.
When Minivan News contacted Mr Shaheen, he refused to answer
questions before hanging up.
Despite the cases confirmed at Ameer Ahmed school, the Ministry of
Education says its has not received any reports of HFMD. Mohamed
Saeed, a Director, did confirm Male schools have had to be closed for
2 weeks during a previous epidemic.
In the absence of preventive measures from the government, individual
schools have to take matters into their own hands. "We are preparing
information leaflets on HFMD to distribute to the parents," said
Zuleikha Ali of Ameer Ahmed school. Rahma Abdul Rahman, Assistant
Principal of Iskandhar School, says that if cases were reported,
students would be asked to consult a doctor and asked to stop coming
to school. "In such cases, we have previously asked parents to
consult a doctor and not to send the student to school. Once the
student returns to school, the Health Assistant does a check up of
the student," she says.
HFMD is spread by virus from person to person though bodily fluids.
The illness is common in infants and children under the age of 10. It
is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters.
Although no specific vaccine exists for the disease, HFMD is a mild
infection and nearly all patients recover without medical treatment
in 7 to 10 days. If a child is displaying symptoms, they should be
taken to a doctor for diagnosis and avoid public spaces until the
infection has passed.
[Byline: Aiman Mohamed]
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Joseph P. Dudley, Ph.D
[The Maldives comprise 1190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls; 200
of the islands are inhabited, with a total population 369 000
approximately, at the last census, plus 80 islands with tourist
resorts. They form an archipelago located astride and along major
sea-lanes in the Indian Ocean. Because of this, they are vulnerable
to introduced diseases such as HFMD in children, which is common
throughout southeast Asia. Male is the capital city. - Mod.CP]