The number of people infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease is rising sharply.
The disease causes blisters and ulcers on the tongue, gums, palms and feet together with mild fever. Most affected people are cured naturally in seven to 10 days after contracting the disease. However, it is a dangerous disease because some cases lead to neurologic complications such as brainstem encephalitis and aseptic encephalomeningitis, which ultimately cause death.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the number of people suspected to have been infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease reached 21.6 per 1,000 outpatients between May 25 and 31, compared with 13.8 in 2013, 7.6 in the same period in 2012 and 14.9 in 2011.
The disease is caused by infection with enterovirus and coxsakievirus that become highly active in a warm weather. Many cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease are found in summer and fall. It is also called "kids` diseases" because infants and children at age 6 or under are vulnerable to the disease. "There is no vaccine for hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and recurrences are frequent," said Ahn Jong-kyun, a pediatrician at the Ewha Womans University Medical Center in Seoul. "It is important to wash hands and feet frequently and keep children`s toys and tableware clean.