Childcare centres across Cairns, Tablelands hit by viral hand, foot and mouth disease

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Health authorities have issued an urgent health alert after 15 childcare centres in Queensland were hit by a viral infection.

Health authorities have warned parents to be on alert for the viral infection, which has seen 60 people present at Cairns hospital‘s emergency department since the start of the year.

Of the 60 hospital presentations, nine people had to be admitted.

Officials also warned the 15 childcare centres affected by the outbreak were located throughout the Cairns and Tablelands regions since early January.

The disease is typically mild and occurs mainly in young children, but it could also affect older children and adults.

Symptoms of the disease include rash or blisters on the hands and feet, as well as in or around the mouth.

It is most commonly caused by the Coxsackie virus and mainly spreads through contact with fluid from inside the blisters, or via droplets from sneezing and coughing.

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