A public awareness campaign is under way following confirmation of more than a dozen cases of the highly contagious Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Antigua.
The illness usually affects children younger than 10 years old, and is characterised by sores in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks and legs.
It can also occur in adults.
OBSERVER media contacted several public health clinics and was informed that they had not seen any confirmed cases. However, two medical practitioners told our newsroom that they have treated at least a dozen children with the disease.
Paediatrician and Neonatologist Dr Edda Hadeed said she has seen between eight to 11 patients this past week.
“I have seen a number of people coming in. It is a viral illness. It is harmless as such. The worst thing that can happen is that it might itch and will spread through scratching,” Dr Hadeed said.
She explained the common symptoms are fever two days prior to infection, and rashes around the hand, foot and mouth.
An infected child will also experience vomiting, headache, diarrhoea and sore throat.
Family Physician Dr Philmore Benjamin dealt with two cases, one of whom was a patient who visited his office on Friday.
He said the only treatment for the disease, is prevention.
“You can only treat the symptoms; the treatment is basically preventative measures and that is basic hygiene, like washing of the hands and things like that,” the doctor said.