BVI News

Concerning | Infectious Hand-foot-and-mouth disease hits over 10 daycares locally

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease can be contracted through bodily secretions such as faeces, nose and throat secretions, or hugging an infected person, etcetera. Parents are warned to keep infected children home.

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Roughly one dozen early-childhood centres in the British Virgin Islands have been affected to date by the contagious Hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

National Epidemiologist, Harmony Brewley, told BVI News on Thursday that the viral disease — which affects both adults and children — is now a cause for concern locally.

“Why this is a concern for us is because the virus is evolving. So in the past, Hand-foot-and-mouth disease doesn’t usually result in death. But now we are seeing cases globally where the increase in mortality after contracting the disease,” Brewley said.

“It is not the Hand-foot-and-mouth disease we know from the years past. Viruses are always adapting to the genetic information from other viruses, and they could become more harmful,” she added.

Brewley said the timing of the outbreak is also worrying.

“It would usually affect children in the summer months or when school starts in September, but it is very odd that we are seeing it now proliferating in the colder months. We have over 10 daycares affected so far,” she said.

She explained that the disease could be contracted through any form of bodily secretion such as faeces, nose and throat secretion, or hugging an infected person.

Some of the symptoms include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, rashes on the feet, elbows, buttocks and genital areas, etcetera.

How it is being contained

In the meantime, the National Epidemiologist said the Ministry of Health is working to contain the outbreak.

She told BVI News that they are currently conducting assessments of the various facilities and have partnered with the Environmental Health Division to educate the daycare workers on proper disinfection and sanitization methods.

Commencing next week, the Ministry of Health will be conducting sensitization programmes with parents and schools.

While no daycare centre has been closed so far, Brewley said affected facilities will be ordered temporarily closed if they fail to adhere to the sanitization practices and other preventative measures.

Keep sick children home

Meanwhile, parents are being urged to play their part in reducing the spread of this infectious disease. One way to do so is by keeping their sick children home.

“That has been a bone of contention between parents and the daycares because people need to go to work. However, children lives matter and you are putting other children’s lives at risk,” she explained.

She said while there is no known treatment for the disease, doctors can treat the symptoms.

Brewley said investigations are underway to determine what strain of the virus is currently being seen in the territory.

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  1. Hmmmm says:

    People need to go to work??? A CONCERNED PARENT will stay home if a child is in this state! GO LABOUR if employers nasty so and so don’t understand! Some are too selfish!!AND How can you go work While considering other people babies in danger!! How selfish! And daycares.. hmm the health officials need to look into these places and PUT THEIR FOOT DOWN!!! Because some are very nasty and unprofessional. And as a parent, if you voice your opinion, they get very offended! NO ONE should be allowed to open these facilities without PERFECT practices, that’s right, PERFECT!! Because GOOD is not enough for OUR BABIES.

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  2. Ausar says:

    We do not have “hand-foot- and mouth” disease in the US Virgin Islands!

    And we’re thirty minutes away by the ferry system!

    Its obvious the vaccinations and/or sanitary systems in the BVI are not up to par!

    Or could it be the copius sewerage runoffs that we tend to have as a daily occurence?

    Its obvious that we have an epidemiological issue and government needs to get to the bottom of this!

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    • @Ausar says:

      I agree with you. I think our nastiness is catching up with us.

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    • Doc says:

      I am quite sure that USVI has hand, foot and mouth- it just isn’t publicized. Almost every country has cases of HFMD. Moreover vaccinations has nothing to do with prevention or control. Nor does in-country sanitary systems have much to do with it.

      It’s very contagious illness and like the epidemiologist said a simple respiratory droplet can infect many. For all we know the first case could have been imported. What we can do now is practice strict hygiene measures, keep sick kids HOME and sanitize the day-cares. That’s it and that’s all.

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      • Ausar says:

        Trust me, “Doc”, I have friends with babies in all sorts of day care centers. And I would have known if their children had these issues.

        Health care issues, sanitary, ton loads of shots and sewerage issues are taken very seriously over here!

        Open air bakeries like you guys have over there, could never pass inspection by Licensing for the serving of food items.

        The types of sanitary issues, and even diseases the BVI suffers, we do not have them here.

        I remember being over there at one point and a cousin wanted me to visit someone afflicted with diseases UNHEARD OF over here. I begged them not to go, ’cause I didnt want to be so similarly afflicted!

        Why these types of diseases are allowable in this country with so many of you with medical degrees and a modern standard of living is beyond me.

        Perhaps, its time for the systems neccessary for proper health care, sewerage, and communicable diseases,to be given a REAL OVERHAUL FROM TOP TO BOTTOM!

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        • @ ausar says:

          Stay delusional.

        • Boo says:

          lol what rock did you crawl out of? HFMD has nothing to do with vaccination or sewerage. Its plain and simple hygiene practices in day cares.

          Pray tell exactly what diseases do we have that USVI doesn’t? except of course maybe your brand of ignorance.

  3. Social says:

    I can understand why parents will want to go to work to meet the end of month expenses I think parents should get at least 3 days benifit from social security by producing a a doctor’s paper because we paying employers don’t pay when you home with a sick child especially a young child that needs their mothers care. We have to consider others and I sure if my child have a virus and goes to the same school as their child and they get the virus they would say why they don’t keep the child home

  4. Wow says:

    So so many people don’t even do simple hand washing after using the toilet, much less after cleaning one child to touch another. This is not good. Disinfect and sanitize these cribs, playpen and hi chairs after each child. Wash hands with disinfecting soap regularly. Pull up those dirty carpets and rugs.

  5. Simple Math says:

    Nasty place = sick people! The BVI needs to be cleaned up from top to bottom. We take things too lightly here. For starters, open burning at the dump site is killing people slowly. Our most popular beach is contaminated with sewage and no, I’m not buying the BS from environmental health that it’s safe, this is all good PR for tourist season while they try to figure out how the f**k to fix it. Sewage running all over roads and garbage thrown everywhere. Why are we surprised that so many people are getting sick?

    • Theo says:

      Key people are remaining willfully ignorant because when the population was 15,000 in the BVI they would dump oil, trash and anything straight into the environment and the time wouldn’t catch up with them fast enough for enough people to make it an issue

      CGB was always having issues with sewerage back in the 90s due to boats and people.

      None of this is rocket science. Same way your house gets dirtier the more people are in it, the same way country is. We’re just running out of rugs to sweep everything under and closets to stuff everything into.

  6. Ms wise says:

    Not all day cares are dirty. My grand baby goes to a day care in the big. During pick up you will receive the babies clean as a whistle. If you do see them changing every worker wear gloves for changing n sanitize in between changes. Thumbs up K C

  7. SMDH says:

    One warning from health authorities to take cautious action is a happy invitation for you people to bad talk the place… as usual.

    I’m sure there are cleaner and better places where you all can be. Go there.

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