Influenza, HFMD cases rising – DOH

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The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday disclosed an increase in influenza-like illness (ILI) and hand, foot and mouth diseases (HFMD) nationwide for the first nine months of the year.

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Recent data from the DOH-Epidemiology Bureau (DOH-EB) recorded a total of 73,100 ILI cases from January 1 to September 19, a 1.7-percent increase from 71,896 cases in the same period last year.

The most cases recorded were from Region XII with 23.3 percent, followed by Region IV-A with 15.2 percent, Region X with 11.6 percent, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 11.2 percent and Region XI with 8.4 percent.

ILI, commonly known as flu, is an acute respiratory infection of possible influenza or other illnesses.

Common symptoms of ILI include fever with coughing and sore throat.

The DOH said ILI can be clinically indistinguishable from similar diseases like the common cold and bronchitis, and getting an annual influenza vaccine is advised to prevent the onset of the disease.

Meanwhile, HFMD cases rose to a total of 1,867, a 387.5-percent increase from the same period last year with only 383 cases.

Region IV-A recorded the most cases with 23.9 percent, followed by Region VI with 23.4 percent, National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) with 12.4 percent, Region II with 9.2 percent and Region X with 6.1 percent.

HFMD, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is a common infectious disease in children and infants caused by enteroviruses.

This infection can cause mouth sores and blisters on the hands, feet and buttocks.
WHO noted that this disease should not be confused with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which affects animals.

There is still no known vaccine to cure and be immune to HFMD but WHO said good hygiene will decrease risk of infection.

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