Davao toddler comfirmed to have EV-71By Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A 19-month-old toddler from Davao has been diagnosed to have been infected with enterovirus 71, the same virus that has killed more than 60 children in Cambodia, but has since recovered.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the boy was the only confirmed case among eight suspected cases in the country to have the form of the hand, foot and mouth disease or EV-71 strain.
Ona said the strain which was previously undetected and unidentified was a mild form of EV-71 and could have been in the country long before its deadlier variant killed Cambodian children.
“The virus is similar to Cambodia but mild,” he said.
“I am not surprised if all along it (EV-71) has been here. But the specific strain has not been examined (previously). Maybe it was never identified here before. By the manner it is presented, it is easily presumed that the strain came only from Cambodia. But this virus could have been here all along,” Ona said.
Ona said the boy developed fever and rashes on his hands, feet, buttocks and mouth, which are the typical symptoms of the disease. The boy was brought to a local health facility in Davao but was sent home after treatment.
“He (the boy) never traveled outside the country. Nobody in his family or even in his barangay got infected. He recovered very well. He is at home and was never admitted to a hospital,” Ona said.
At a press conference yesterday, Ona assured that the single case of EV-71 infection was no cause for alarm as personal hygiene, as simple as covering one’s mouth while coughing, and hand-washing could easily prevent the spread of the disease.
With children prone to infection, Ona stressed, “Prevention relies on individual personal hygiene and hand-washing. Shared toys or teaching tools in daycare centers should be cleaned, washed and disinfected as they easily become contaminated.”
He added, “The public need not be alarmed. We (the DOH) are monitoring. The important thing is awareness. The public is informed.”
As for the seven other suspect EV-71 cases, aged between 1 to 29 years old and one of them female, Ona said: “These patients had mild disease and presented with fever followed by appearance of skin lesions on the hands, feet and mouths.”
Ona said that six of them tested positive for human enterovirus but not for EV-71 based on their stool and fluid samples.