Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dr. Faye Erika Labrador said they regularly expect cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in Palawan are still at a manageable level as they expect it to appear during the dry season, considering that it is a tropical disease.

Labrado stated that the overall number of cases registered for the whole province, including Puerto Princesa City, is 325 during the first quarter of 2023.

“But this is not all active. Most of the cases are already resolved, and only around 20+ of the reported cases are active for week 12,” she told the media during the Arampangan sa Kapitolyo last Friday.

She also stated that most of the cases in Roxas, which reported a dramatic surge in the latter week of March, have already been addressed.

She further stated that, while Roxas Municipal Health Office (MHO) chief Dr. Leo Salvino claimed 110 instances, the real number is lower due to the individual case investigation files that they require, and that what they have received since March 26 is just 52 cases.

“Ire-report nila sa amin ang absolute number. But these 110 [cases] may individuals kami na CIF that they also have to submit. So they have submitted the 110, but we are requesting from them the kit na pagbabasehan natin ng edad, sex, at kung ano ang mga timeline ng kanilang sakit,” she stated.

“With the HFMD kasi, usually ang tinatarget nyan ay yung mga 5 years old and below, and nakita natin sa datos na doon sa weekly report, yun talaga ang primarily affected [although] we have a few na nasa grade school—7-9 years old,” she added.

But, while waiting for the report, Labrador noted that they had already taken the required actions to resolve the issue.

She said that sanitary officers were promptly directed to disinfect, while vector-borne authorities supplied misting agents, insecticides, and IEC materials, health promotion officers disseminated information regularly, and disease surveillance officers submitted data continuously.

“So before pa namin ma-receive yung CIF, meron na tayong mga pre-positioned na mga health care workers sa mga involved na areas,” she said.

“And pag-inform pa lang din sa amin, we pre-positioned our health promotion officers, vector borne officers to address the issue while we at PDOHO, PHO and CHT continue to analyze data to address and identify what we need to do eliminate the disease,” she added.

She further suggested that, while the disease resolves spontaneously, it may be avoided sooner by increasing one’s immune system, staying hydrated, and addressing the symptoms immediately.

“And keep isolated from everyone para hindi mag-spread katulad ng nangyayari ngayon,” she said.

Aside from Roxas, Labrador stated that the municipalities of Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Rizal, and Sofronio Española have reasonably high incidences, however, she did not provide data.

“But there are other municipalities na meron ding HFMD pero hindi ganoon kataas. Because as I have mentioned, talagang during this time, we have expected na talagang mataas ang ating cases of due na rin po sa tropical illness sya and mainit ngayon,” she said.