Department of Health

Borongan City, Eastern Samar declares hand, foot, and mouth disease outbreak

Ricky Bautista

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Borongan City, Eastern Samar declares hand, foot, and mouth disease outbreak

SYMPTOMS. Red blister-like lesions on the palms and other areas of the body are normally signs of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, which largely affects children due to their patterns of play and activities.


Cases in Borongan, Eastern Samar's capital city, jump from 95 on March 8 to 154 on March 10, affecting 33 of 61 barangays

CATBALOGAN, Philippines – The City Health Office of Borongan City, Eastern Samar has declared an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) after the number of patients in the provincial capital jumped from 95 on March 8, to 154 on March 10.

The declaration was signed on March 10 by City Health officer Daisy Sacmar and Dr. John Kelly Cainday of the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (CESU).

Health workers fanned out across barangays immediately with an education and information campaign aimed at easing infections, especially among children who pass on the disease or catch it due to normal play behavior and other activities.

“Communities and the general public must comply with minimum public health standards and non-pharmaceutical interventions as may be enforced for diseases spread by droplets and direct contact,” the outbreak declaration stated.

OUTBREAK. The Borongan City health office declares an outbreak of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease on March 10, 2023 after a two day spike in cases from 95 to 154, affecting 33 of the city’s 61 barangays.

Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda said health officials have reported cases in  33 of the 61 barangays in Borongan.

The 33 affected villages are Taboc, Cabong, Campesao, Canlaray, Tabunan, Cabalagnan, Purok District 1, Bato, Lalawigan, Balud, Sta. Fe, Ando, Bugas, Songco, Libuton, Hindang, San Mateo, Maypangan, San Saturnino, Calingatnan, Calico-an, Can-abong, Canjaway, Purok A, Sabang North, Amantacop, Bayobay, San Jose, Tamoso, Purok H, Purok G, Purok 2 and San Gabriel.

Most HFMD patients are children between the ages of one year old and 10 years old.

The city’s current HFMD figure is higher than the 116 cases reported by the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), covering the period of January 1 to February 25, 2023. 

The province of Leyte posted the highest number of cases with 51, followed by Southern Leyte with 45, Northern Samar with 11, Biliran with 6, Eastern Samar with 2, and Samar province with 1.

The regional January to February 2023 figure was already a big jump from the 22 cases reported during the same period last year. 

HEALTH ADVISORY. The Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) health office issues an advisory on how to protect family members from Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), which largely affects children.

Even before the outbreak declaration, many schools in the city also suspended their classes as a precautionary measure while health officials were still investigating the cause of the rapid spread in HFMD cases.

“HFMD is a highly contagious viral disease often affecting infants and children. Most HFMD cases are mild, self-limiting, and non-fatal, but may progress to meningitis, encephalitis, and polio-like paralysis if left unmanaged,” the Department of Health (DOH)-Eastern Visayas said.

According to the health department, HFMD is “usually transmissible through contact with nose and throat discharges, the saliva of infected persons, and/or contaminated objects.”

“However, it is important to note that the HFMD cannot be contracted from animals and should not be confused with the Foot-and-Mouth Disease in cattle, sheep, and swine,” it added.

The signs and symptoms of the disease include fever; sore throat; feeling of being unwell (malaise); painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and insides of the cheeks; red rash, without itching, but sometimes with blistering on the palms, soles, or the buttocks; irritability in infants and toddlers; and loss of appetite.

“Parents/guardians are advised to ensure that children with suspected, probable, or confirmed HFMD cases should remain at home, refrain from attending school, day-care facilities, or other face-to-face activities until such time that the patient is not exhibiting symptoms anymore, and strictly adhere to the advice of a health care provider,” DOH-Eastern Visayas said. –

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