Foot and Mouth Disease

December 14th 2018
Dear Parent or Guardian,
There has been a case of hand, foot and mouth disease in the Junior Infants and your child may have been exposed. The
following are commonly asked questions about the disease.

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?
This is a disease caused by a group of viruses which usually affects young children. It causes blisters on hands and feet and
mouth ulcers inside the cheeks and on the tongue. They may also have a sore throat and high temperature. These symptoms
last for 7–10 days.

How long are children infectious?
Children who are ill are infectious. Also they may carry the virus in their faeces for many weeks after they have recovered and
so can continue to pass on infectio

Can you catch it more than once?
Yes, but children who are ill during an outbreak at school or nursery are unlikely to get it again during the same outbreak.

How long should children stay away from school?
Children who are unwell should be kept off school until they are feeling better. Keeping children off school for longer than this
is unlikely to stop the virus spreading. There may be other children in the school who appear well but are spreading the virus.

How is it spread?
The virus is spread by coughs and sneezes, and is also found in the faeces of infected children. Some children infected do not
have symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others.
Is there any treatment?

Is there any treatment?
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease – it is usually a mild and self-limiting illness. If a child feels
unwell paracetamol may help. Antibiotics and creams or ointments for the blisters are not effective. Children recover just as
quickly without them.

Is it the same as foot and mouth disease in cows?
No. A completely different virus causes foot and mouth disease in cows.

Is it dangerous?
No. All make a full recovery.

What is the incubation period?
Symptoms start 3-5 days after exposure to the virus.

How can spread be prevented?
Since the virus is found in faeces, scrupulous attention must always be paid to hand washing after using the toilet.

Thank you for giving this your attention. If you have any further questions please contact your GP.
Yours truly,
Denis Courtney