BHUBANESWAR: With reports of a sudden spurt in hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in several parts of Odisha including the Capital city Bhubaneswar, the State government on Sunday said it was alert to the issue and monitoring the situation.
The HFMD has been in news recently with an outbreak in Kerala, where it was initially called Tomato fever, leading to its neighbouring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu issuing alerts over its possible spread to their region. A sudden increase in the viral infection in the far-off state like Odisha with unusual manifestations here has led doctors to voice concern over possible mutation of the strain or entry of an entirely new virus.
The State Health department said the Centre has not yet issued any advisory on HFMD nor has it received any report on the spread of the disease in the districts.“We are, however, alert and keeping an eye on the situation. We have asked the districts to monitor if there is any unusual increase in cases. If we receive report from any district regarding spread of the infection, measures will be taken accordingly,” said Public Health director Niranjan Mishra.
Meanwhile, isolation facility is being reportedly created at Sishu Bhawan, Cuttack following reports of a sudden spurt in HFMD in the Twin City. The major concern voiced by doctors seeing cases is, HFMD is now seen in older children up to 14 years, while it was earlier restricted to kids below the age of five.
Further, against conventional wisdom that the disease-induced life-long immunity, cases of reinfection even in the same season is being seen now. The virus is generally self-limiting and resolves within a week with symptomatic treatment, but in rare cases has been known to lead to more severe encephalitis of the brain. There is a need of increased surveillance and determining what has brought about the changes in the viral infection, they stressed.