A student at the Carenage Primary school has contracted hand foot and mouth disease and is now in quarantine.
This is the second case detected for this school term. The first was at a school in south Trinidad.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said it is “usual to have a few cases in schools from time to time.”
Paediatric specialist Dr Joanne Paul, in a Newsday interview, said the outbreak isn’t a cause for concern.
“It happens every year. I mean, since I was a young doctor it’s a normal thing about paediatrics. So sometimes you have a spate of it, so like post-Carnival or post-anything you might have a string of influenza or something,” she said.
The disease is characterised by a rash and sores on an infected person’s hands, feet, and mouth. While anyone can contract the disease, Dr Paul said it is typically found in children.
“It’s very mild typically. You start off with a fever for about seven to ten days. So the fever would start off for about two days and then the rash comes on and then after a while the rash goes away, the fever goes away,” she said.
However, she warned that it could be dangerous in children younger than six months old, especially if they have immune issues.
“Aside from that, if it’s a child who has no issue whatsoever who is between the ages of like one and five years old you should be fine,” she said.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus spreads similarly to COVID-19—through respiratory droplets and off surfaces. This is why, apart from keeping infected children home from school, they should be kept away from any younger children in the household.
Dr Paul advised: “Make sure you keep the areas clean, you wash your hands in between everything, and if they’re sharing toys you keep that clean also.”
She said proper hygiene practices like frequent hand washing were critical to stopping the spread of the disease.