JIS News

The Ministry of Health’s Public Health Inspectors will begin inspecting schools on Monday (October 12), to ensure that proper hygiene and sanitation practices are being observed and appropriate facilities exist.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, in a meeting on Friday (October 2009), involving officials from the Health Ministry, the Health Department and the Education Ministry, said the Government has to ensure that the schools provide a healthy environment for students.
“So, for the next three weeks, our public health inspectors will be visiting schools across the island to ensure that they meet the required health and sanitation standards,” Mr. Spencer said in a release issued by his Ministry, last night (October 9).
He explained that the Operation will take into consideration Kindergartens, Primary and Preparatory schools in light of reports of outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease-like illness in a number of the institutions. One school has been closed so far to allow for adequate cleaning and sanitisation.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester, noted that schools should ensure that children observe general hygiene practices, to reduce the incidence of spread.
“We have observed an increase in the rate of viral infections, recently. These can be reduced, if we observe good hygiene practices. We continue to urge schools and parents to monitor children and ensure that they wash their hands frequently and properly with soap and water” Dr. Campbell Forrester said.
She also noted that an alcohol-based hand sanitiser can be used, but only to supplement hand washing and not to replace it.
Dr. Campbell Forrester emphasised that HFMD is not the same as Foot and Mouth, also called Hoof and Mouth, disease found in animals. She says the two are not related.
“The disease found in animals cannot be transferred to humans and the one that affects humans cannot be transferred to animals. These diseases are caused by different viruses,” she explained.
HFMD is a viral illness common in infants and children. It causes fever and blister-like eruptions in the mouth, usually on the tongue, gum and inside the cheek and/or a rash on the skin.
Other symptoms include malaise, poor appetite and sore throat. Infection is easily spread from person to person, as a result of direct contact with infectious virus found in the nose and throat secretions, saliva, blister fluid, and stool of infected persons.
The Ministry is urging parents to keep children at home, for at least seven days, if they are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if they have flu-like symptoms. Schools are advised to contact their parish health department if a child is found to have any of the symptoms.

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