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Foot and mouth disease in Burns Lake

According to Northern Health hand foot and mouth is not a reportable disease

The Village of Burns Lake day camp at the multiplex last week had cases of hand, foot and mouth disease.

Sheryl Worthing Chief Administrative Officer for the villages said, “The camp was not shut down but each of the parents were contacted and the children that were sick stayed home. A few parents pulled their children and were refunded.”

When asked what was protocol in this situation Worthing replied, “We have a communicable disease plan for staff that is followed and we asked parents to keep their kids home if they are sick. Once staff learned about the illness they increased cleaning procedures and frequency as well as preformed a deep clean of the camp space. Staff follow the same protocol with all other health related issues.”

Eryn Collins spokes person for Northern Health (NH) responded about the outbreak, “The virus that causes hand foot and mouth is not a reportable disease, and so NH wouldn’t necessarily be notified of cases and/or manage an outbreak. We always encourage people to follow the public health guidance for communicable illnesses and preventing transmission (which is in the Healthlink file I sent). If anyone were to have concerns about their symptoms, they should speak to their primary care provider or contact the NH virtual clinic.”

According to Healthlink BC Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by certain types of viruses. It is most common in children under 10 years of age, but older children and adults may also get the disease. Most cases occur in the summer and early fall.

Symptoms start three to five days after contact with an infected person. The first sign of infection may be a mild fever, sometimes with a runny nose or sore throat, tiredness and loss of appetite.

Once a person is infected and sick, they can be contagious and spread the virus for about seven to 10 days. The virus can be spread through close personal contact such as kissing, or sharing drinking cups, forks, or spoons. It can also spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can be infected by inhaling these droplets or touching objects contaminated with them. You can also be infected by touching surfaces contaminated with fluid from the blisters or fecal matter. The virus can stay for up to several weeks in the bowels of an infected person and can be spread during that time.

Good hygiene during and after infection is very important in preventing the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease. It is possible you or your child may be contagious for several weeks after the blisters and sores have healed because the virus may remain in the feces.

To help reduce the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease, wash hands often with soap and warm water. Teach your child to sneeze or cough into a tissue or their inner arm where the elbow flexes. This prevents the spread of airborne droplets. Encourage your child to throw tissues directly in the garbage after use and to wash their hands again.

Your child may continue to attend daycare if they feel well enough to take part in activities. The risk to other children is not great if proper hygiene practices are followed. Take extra care to wash hands and clean surfaces thoroughly after changing diapers and before serving or eating food around children and child care settings.

Common surfaces and shared toys should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a bleach solution.