Government of Dominica


The Ministry of Health Wellness and Social Services has called on the public to exercise caution as the ministry has recorded an increase in cases of the hand foot and mouth disease.

In the first week of October, the Ministry identified one suspected case. This resulted in a release of a circular by the Environmental Health Department on October 11th, 2023. Since then, there have been suspected cases in five out of the seven health districts in children below six years old.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Social Services, Dr. Laura Esprit explained that while the disease is more common in children under the age of five, it can also affect older children and adults.

HFMD is a common childhood illness caused by various strains of enteroviruses, primarily the Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71. It usually affects children under the age of five but can also occur in older children and adults. The disease presents as a mild to moderate illness but can cause discomfort and concern. Symptoms of HFMD usually appear within three to seven days after exposure to the virus and may include fever, sore throat, a rash on the hands and feet, and small, painful blisters in the mouth. In some cases, individuals may also experience a loss of appetite, irritability, and feel generally unwell,” Dr. Esprit stated.

Due to the contagious nature of the disease, citizens are urged to practice good personal hygiene to protect themselves.

Parents are also encouraged to keep their children homes if they show any symptoms of the disease.

“Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease can easily spread from person to person through close contact with saliva, nasal discharge, fluid from blisters, or fecal matter. Therefore, it is crucial to practice good personal hygiene, such as washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces. To help control the spread of HFMD, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Social Services recommends that parents keep their children home from school or daycare if they exhibit symptoms. It is equally important to seek medical advice promptly if HFMD is suspected, especially if an individual experiences high fever, dehydration, difficulty swallowing, or if the symptoms worsen,” she explained.

Persons who contract the disease are asked to seek medical care and to stay away from others until fully recovered.

“While there is no specific treatment or vaccine for HFMD, most individuals recover within seven to ten days with appropriate care, ample rest, and fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage the discomfort caused by the mouth blisters and fever. It is crucial that individuals affected by HFMD avoid contact with others until they have fully recovered to prevent further transmission. The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Social Services is closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with healthcare providers and the Ministry of Education to ensure the adequate management of cases and further prevent the spread of HFMD within our communities,” Dr. Esprit further stated.

Dr. Esprit once again encouraged citizens to be proactive and to increase their personal hygiene practices.

“We urge the public, particularly school teachers, parents and children, to raise their awareness for symptoms and promote hygienic practices. We encourage all to remain vigilant and follow the recommended preventive measures. For any concerns or inquiries regarding Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, please contact your nearest health facility,” she added.

Sign up for the Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get updates in your inbox. We won’t spam you and we respect your privacy.