Health: The Department of School Education has asked schools in the country to create awareness on hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and to institute a proper mechanism for prevention and early detection of symptoms.

The department issued a circular on March 29 instructing all dzongkhag education officers (DEO) and thromde education officers (TEO) to inform schools and to initiate an awareness programme with support from district health officials.

Schools are must to maintain hygiene and continue to practice hand washing with soap to prevent spreading of the disease.

Thimphu DEO, Pema Choedup, said that the schools in the capital started educating students and parents about the disease immediately after the office received the circular.

“Head of the schools talk about the symptoms and prevention of the disease in morning assembly, health classes and parent-teacher meetings,” Pema Choedup said.

We have also instructed the teachers to immediately isolate students with disease and to take him/her to nearest hospital or health centres, he added.

Samdrupjongkhar DEO, Rinchen Gyeltshen, said that he informed all the heads of the schools and started creating awareness about the disease.

Last month, Thangza village in Gasa reported 23 children with the disease.

The second outbreak was reported on March 18 in the capital. Some 78 children of three private schools in the capital suffered from the recent outbreak of the disease as of March 24.

HFMD is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children. It can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms include fever and blisters on various parts of the body including the mouth, fingers, palms, buttocks, nappy area, soles, upper arms or legs.

Chief programme officer of communicable diseases division, Dr Karma Lhazeen, said a report of the disease is being compiled.


No vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.

A person can lower their risk of being infected by

Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet. Visit Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention for more information.

Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys.

Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease.

If a person has mouth sores, it might be painful to swallow. However, it is important for people with hand, foot, and mouth disease to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids). If a person cannot swallow enough liquids, they may need to receive them through an Intravenous therapy in their vein.


There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms, such as

Taking over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever (Caution: Aspirin should not be given to children.)

Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain

People who are concerned about their symptoms should contact their health care provider.

 Dechen Tshomo