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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is common in Michiana area

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. -- ABC57 investigated a tip that hand, foot, and mouth disease has been traveling around the Michiana area.

ABC57 found that numbers of the disease are not recorded, but recently there have been cases of the very contagious, viral disease here in the area.

However, in no way is there an outbreak in the community.

“In our community we have found sporadically that it has been on the rise.” Dr. Abdul ‘Sami’ Qazi, MD with St. Joseph People’s Clinic in Elkhart confirmed.

“We have seen a few more cases than we were seeing earlier on, but by no means do we have an epidemic on our hands,” he further explained.

The disease usually occurs in children under 5 years of age, but older children and even adults can get hand, foot and mouth.

The first warning signs are children with a fever and maybe a loss of appetite.

“Usually a day or two after the fever starts, that’s usually when you can see the sores on their mouths and on their hands, especially on the palms of their hands, and their feet,” Elkhart County Health officer Lydia Mertz explained.

The fever lasts a couple of days, and the virus sheds for about a week.

Mertz says the numbers regarding hand, foot, and mouth aren’t accurate, because they’re not always recorded.

“It’s not reportable, and so we don’t keep numbers. We know when there’s an outbreak because everyone is having it, and we get a lot of questions about it,” she said.

The self –limiting disease rapidly spreads by coughing, sneezing, and it can be spread through feces as well.

“Unfortunately it’s very common to spread from child to child in daycare centers, because of those reasons,” said Qazi.

Experts say simple precautions like hand-washing and sanitizing can stop the disease from circulating.

Doctors say, do not be alarmed of the disease. However, there are some points of concern, such as a child not getting enough fluids because of sores in his or her mouth.

If you have questions or concerns, doctors urge you to call your health care provider or schedule an appointment.

ABC57 did reach out to the St. Joseph County Health Department, and they were not able to say if there is a spike in cases. The Marshall County Department of Health also confirmed that there is no evidence of an increase of the disease.

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