MIRI: In an effort to prevent a repeat of last year’s deadly outbreak of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Sarawak, the state government is taking early extreme precautionary measures.
Any kindergarten suspected of having minor infections would be closed for at least two weeks even though it might not be serious, said Deputy Chief Minister and State Disaster Relief Committee chairman Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam.
This early measure was necessary to ensure that the disease would not escalate into another deadly attack as was the case last year when 13 children died, he said yesterday.
“We (state authorities) want to be on the safe side. We want to see whether by closing at a very early stage any kindergartens or schools suspected of having even minor infections will ensure that there will be no major outbreak.
“We want to try to prevent any cycle of mass infection. From past experience dealing with HFMD in Sarawak, it was found that the number of HFMD cases during the end of the year and the beginning of the year would surge upwards.
“If we close centres suspected of having any minor infections at this very early stage, we may be able to prevent an outbreak,” he said in an interview.
Dr Chan, however, noted that there was no outbreak of the disease as yet in the state, adding that presently the state government had ordered three kindergartens to close for 14 days.
“There is nothing major to worry about. The number of cases in these three premises is not alarming,” he said, hoping that the notice to close the three did not cause any panic.
Dr Chan said last year’s severity of cases and fatalities had shown that once the infections spread it would be very difficult to contain.
He said that for the whole of last month there were about 140 cases of the disease statewide, none of them serious.
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