HFMD returns to Sarawak

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 15 Jul 2006

KUCHING: Sarawak is experiencing a “second wave” of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), with a steady increase in the number of new cases reported since May. 

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said 403 new cases were reported last week compared with 315 and 253 cases in the preceding two weeks. 

The outbreak had earlier shown a downward trend from the middle of March, when it hit its peak of 1,345 cases in a week, to early May with 156 cases in a week. 

However, the number of cases has since started to rise again and the state Health Department has intensified its HFMD control operations, including active case detection, health education and closure of preschools where necessary. 

Earlier this week, two kindergartens in Miri were issued with two-week closure orders. 

Dr Chan said the “second wave” could be due to the increased movement of people during the May state election and the Gawai holidays last month. 

“We’re giving people the same advice as before: observe good hygiene and avoid bringing young children to crowded places. 

“Also, we will ask preschools and kindergartens to close if we find two or more cases in their premises,” he told a press conference here yesterday. 

He added that the Government would not be issuing a blanket closure order at the moment because the number of serious cases was still low. 

“We will be watching the situation very carefully. If there are a lot of serious cases, or if the graph goes up very sharply and the disease is spreading rapidly, we will consider closing all the kindergartens,” he said. 

Meanwhile, 66 new cases were reported in the state yesterday, with 10 children admitted to hospital.  

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