SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Eleven cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been diagnosed at Sasebo’s medical clinic in recent days, according to base health officials.

The contagious virus most often is contracted by infants and children. It is not usually fatal but it can cause fever, sores in the mouth and a rash with blisters.

There is no cure for the virus and sickness can last more than a week.

HFMD symptoms began turning up among patients last week, the base announced.

A health advisory was issued Tuesday with suggestions that could curb the spread of the disease.

Hand-washing and sanitizing infected areas are the best defense, said Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Taylor, officer in charge of the Branch Health Clinic in Sasebo.

"HFMD is a mild disease and nearly all patients recover without medical treatment in seven to 10 days," Taylor said.

Because there is no cure, treatment is based on the symptoms, she said.

The disease begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, malaise and frequently a sore throat, according to Taylor.

"One or two days after the fever begins, painful sores develop in the mouth," Taylor said.

The sores begin as small red spots that blister and often become ulcers, she said.

The skin rash develops over one to two days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash does not itch and it is usually located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the buttocks, Taylor said.

HFMD is "moderately" contagious and spreads through direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons, Taylor said.

A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness, she said.

All adults and children should practice good hygiene by washing hands often, especially after changing baby diapers, Taylor said.

Also, any surfaces that come in contact with infected discharges or fluids should be washed with a diluted chlorine bleach solution, she said.

It also might help to keep children with blisters on their mouths or lesions on their hands away from group settings, Taylor said.

"Outbreaks in child care facilities occur most often in the summer and fall months and usually coincide with an increased number of cases in the community," she said.

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