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Health Ministry confirms single case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Suspected cases of Hand, foot and Mouth Diesease have been reported by local nurseries (Photograph by www.freepik.com)

One case of a contagious illness common to childcare settings and reported to health officials by nursery school owners was confirmed last night by the Ministry of Health as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

The case, in a young child, came after a spokeswoman said the ministry had been alerted to several suspected but unconfirmed cases at nursery schools between May and July.

The ministry last month issued a warning to nurseries calling for heightened awareness that the disease could be circulating.

The suspected cases were said to have affected the “under five-year-old group”.

Bermuda’s previous case recorded by the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit came in July 2019.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a contagious illness that is caused by different viruses and is most likely to affect those under the age of 5.

It is not related to Foot-and-Mouth Disease, which afflicts livestock.

Symptoms often begin with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat and a feeling of being unwell.

A day or two after fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth as well as a skin rash with flat, red spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

The disease is not usually serious and clears up within a week to ten days. Click here for more information.

The ministry published information on its website about diseases circulating in the community, including Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, on July 9.

Each of the island’s nurseries were sent a link to the Government’s website which included health information and guidance in the school and childcare settings, reporting forms and fact sheets for commonly infectious diseases.

The spokeswoman added: “Parents should keep their child away from school and other childcare settings while the child is unwell.

“The public should have a heightened awareness that this disease is potentially circulating in the community. Parents who suspect their child is infected should seek confirmation and infection control advice from their doctor.”

Further information is available on Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease via the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease facts

What is it?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious illness that is caused by different viruses.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms usually begin with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat and a feeling of being unwell. A day or two after the fever starts painful sores can develop in the mouth. A skin rash with flat red spots may also develop on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sometimes a rash also occurs on the knees, elbows, and buttocks. This rash may blister but won't itch. Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Other people may show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.

Who gets it?

Infants and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to get this disease. However, older children and adults can also get it. When someone gets HFMD, they develop immunity to the specific virus that caused their infection. However, because HFMD is caused by several different viruses, people can get the disease again.

Is it serious?

HFMD is usually not serious. The illness is typically mild, and nearly all affected persons recover in seven to 10 days without medical treatment. Complications are uncommon.

Is it contagious?

Yes. The viruses that cause HFMD can be found in an infected person's nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), blister fluid, and faeces (stool). HFMD spreads from an infected person to others through close contact, such as kissing, hugging or sharing cups and eating utensils, coughing and sneezing, contact with faeces, for example when changing a diaper, contact with blister fluid, and touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them. People with HFMD are most contagious during the first week of their illness but they may be contagious for weeks after symptoms go away.


There is no vaccine to protect against HFMD. You can reduce the risk of getting infected with the viruses that cause HFMD by following a few simple steps: Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact (kissing, hugging, sharing cups and eating utensils) with people who are infected; disinfect frequently touched surfaces (toys, doorknobs, etc), especially if someone is sick.


All children with a fever and a rash should see a medical doctor to determine the cause. There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Source: Health Ministry, adapted from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

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Published August 03, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated August 03, 2022 at 7:42 am)

Health Ministry confirms single case of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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