On 24 June 2016 the Okinawa Prefecture Department of Health issued a warning for a hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) disease epidemic in Okinawa. According to the department, 292 cases of HFMD have been counted from the 13 to the 17 June 2016, the highest number since 2012. Yaeyama is the worst area affected, and the southern and middle parts of Okinawa main island including Naha.
Advice for Travellers
HFMD is a common viral illness which spreads rapidly among children in particular; outbreaks most often occur in children's nurseries and daycare centres. Transmission is via direct contact with nose and throat secretions and faeces if an infected individual and by aerosol droplet spread. Contact with infected children should be limited and crowded situations avoided; personal hygiene and handwashing is paramount in reducing transmission.