A cause of concern for the little ones
Adiba, a three-year-old from Dhaka's Mirpur, was taken to Bangladesh Shishu Hospital and Institute yesterday, with lesions all over her limbs and inside her mouth. She has been suffering from this for the last few days and has had a fever since Sunday.
The child has been restless due to all the itching and cannot eat food because it hurts while chewing.
After diagnosis, doctors at the hospital confirmed that Adiba has developed hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which she probably got after being in close contact with a child with similar symptoms.
Like her, some 25 to 30 percent of children going to this hospital have been diagnosed with the disease, doctors said.
"This disease mainly affects children under the age of 10. We are receiving an abnormally high number of such cases this year," Dr Mahfuza Hussain, head of the dermatology department at the hospital, told this correspondent yesterday.
According to virologists, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection commonly affecting children. It is caused by different types of viruses, including Coxsackievirus A16.
This disease mainly affects children under the age of 10. We are receiving an abnormally high number of such cases this year. There is no specific treatment for the disease. We prescribe medicine based on the symptoms. It requires around 14 days for recovery if treated.
Dr Mahfuza said there is no specific treatment for the disease. "We prescribe medicine based on the symptoms. It requires around 14 days for recovery if treated."
"We advise providing liquid food to the children to meet their nutritional needs," she added.
The infected children should be isolated from other children, as the disease spreads through touch and sharing objects, Dr Mahfuza explained.
First reported in New Zealand in 1957, the disease had small-scale outbreaks in different parts of the world during the first few decades since then.
Since 1997, however, the disease has noticeably changed its character, as noted in different Southeast Asian countries.
In Bangladesh, there was a major outbreak of the disease in Natore and Tangail in 2017, according to Dr Arifa Akram, assistant professor of virology at National institute of Laboratory Medicine and Referral Centre in Dhaka.
"In recent years, we have noticed outbreaks of this disease in clusters. It is mostly non-fatal. However, in rare cases, it may cause neurological complications in patients," Dr Arifa said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahfuza advised parents and guardians to take their children to the doctor if they notice such symptoms.