Doctors have reported an increase in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the city. Surya Hospital in Santacruz said that in the last three months they have treated six times as many cases compared to the same period last year.Dr Bhupendra Avasthi from Surya Hospital, Santacruz, said that the staff at the hospital has seen over 3,000 cases since June as compared to 500 cases during the same period last year. The infection, which is caused by a virus, results in painful reddish blisters in the mouth, hands, feet and thighs. It also leads to fever and sore throat.“We really don’t know why there are so many cases this year,” Dr Avasthi said. Dr Tanu Singhal, consultant paediatrician at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said there is an outbreak every monsoon, but anecdotal evidence suggested that the number of cases this year are higher . In the last two weeks she has treated two to three cases a day. “The difference I see this year is that it is affecting older children, up to the ages of 6 and 7 years,” Dr Singhal said. She said that the cases this year are severe as compared to last year. “There are more lesions and the fever seems to be lasting for a longer time,” she said. Doctors are treating the cases based on the symptoms. In most cases, they are prescribing paracetamol and lotions for the blisters. Doctors have advised parents to not send their children diagnosed with the condition, to school, as the disease is contagious. Doctor Om Srivastava, an infectious disease specialist, said, parents must refrain from sending children to school till the symptoms subside. “The disease is infectious. Just like other viral conditions it can be passed on to other students,” he said.