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13 cases of ‘Tomato Flu’ in Kashmir; Nursery and KG closed

13 cases of ‘Tomato Flu’ in Kashmir; Nursery and KG closed

CEOs in Kashmir told to ensure adherence to SOPs

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, Sept 30: More than 13 cases of the highly contagious Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), also known as ‘Tomato Flu’, have been reported at Mallinson School here in Srinagar’s city centre following which the school has closed its nursery and KG classes.

Officials of the Health Department, who are tasked to carry out the necessary surveillance in this regard, told Excelsior that till Thursday, the total number of cases were 13 while today, they said, a few more cases have been reported from the school.In this regard, the school has been told to ensure isolation and to prevent the further spread of the disease by taking the necessary measures. The officials said that the school has closed some of its classes till further notice.

However, on the contrary, the school authorities are denying the HFMD cases being reported at the school, stating that there have been cases where the children had symptoms, but there has been “no confirmation” as yet in this regard.“We usually send the children with fever back home and as precautionary measures, we have closed the nursery and KG classes; but there has not been any confirmation about the cases of disease and there is no outbreak of the disease in the school,” Aftab Hussain, PRO of the school said.

He said that a team of the health department that visited the school told them that there is an outbreak of the disease across Kashmir and there was a need for taking the necessary steps. “That’s what prompted us to shut the classes while all other precautionary measures are in place,” he said.However, the officials underlined that as of now, the cases of HFMD are being reported only from Mallinson School and that they have directed the concerned authorities to ensure adherence to the protocols.

It is to be noted here that the Centre had alerted the States and UTs in August this year about the disease and had directed for stepping up the surveillance.The officials said that the Health Department has also alerted the Chief Education Officers (CEO) across Kashmir about the disease, and a set of SOPs, which need to be followed, have been dispatched to them to keep a check on the spread of the disease, commonly found in children, across Kashmir schools.As per health experts, HFMD is a highly contagious infection and is caused by viruses from the Enterovirus genus, most commonly the coxsackievirus. These viruses are said to spread from person to person through direct contact with unwashed hands and can also be transmitted through contact with a person’s saliva, stool, or respiratory secretions.

The disease is characterized by blisters or sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. “The infection can affect people of all ages, but it usually occurs in children under age 5,” the experts said.Meanwhile, the District Surveillance Unit, Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), Srinagar has also issued an advisory following the detection of cases of HFMD, underlining the need for maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitization of the surrounding necessities.

It advised preventing the infected child from sharing toys, clothes, food, or other items with other non-infected children apart from avoiding immediate contact with the infected person and stressed the need for educating the child about the signs and symptoms and the side effects of the disease.

“Don’t scratch or rub the blister; try to keep your child hydrated by motivating them to drink plenty of water, milk, or juice, whatever they prefer,” the advisory said, adding, no antiviral drugs or vaccines are available for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu.

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