Thursday 8th October 2015
Statement on the Outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Jamaica and its Implications on Trinidad and Tobago
There has been an outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in a growing number of schools across Jamaica within the past few weeks, and to this time, the Jamaican authorities have not displayed any signs of containing the spread. While this HFMD is most common among children and is not fatal, the symptoms, which include but is not limited to fever, fatigue, dehydration, rashes, mouth sores and malaise, are persistent and can last up to two weeks or more depending on the case.
Given the easy spread of the disease, which can be transferred from person to person though skin contact, sneezing, coughing, or the exchange of saliva, restricting the spread of the virus is often difficult. As such, it is possible for someone contaminated with the disease to easily enter our shores and introduce this contagion to our population, through the travel I am therefore posing a question to the Minister of Health, Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh, as to whether there are measure being put in place at our health facilities to treat with this disease should it enter our borders. The populace needs to know what type of screening, if any, will be conducted at our various ports of entry, given the free movement of CARICOM residents within the CSME arrangement, as well as any quarantine facilities should a patient of this virus be detected on arrival.
It is at times like these we need to remain vigilant and be reminded that prevention is as integral a part of health care as treatment. As such, the government should have a strategy in place to both restrict this virus from entering our country, and failing that, ensure that is can be rapidly contained and treated to prevent any potential outbreak, as is plaguing our Caribbean neighbor at this time.
Dr. Fuad Khan
Member of Parliament for Barataria/San Juan