PETALING JAYA: With the exception of Sabah and Sarawak, most states have shown an increase in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.
According to Health Ministry update on the latest HFMD situation in Malaysia, there were 722 cases reported on July 18 (Wednesday).
The cumulative amount to-date, from the first epi week (from Saturday to Sunday of the following week) this year, is 33,425 cases.
In a statement on Thursday night, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said there are no reported deaths caused by HFMD or EV71 infection.
The HFMD is caused by enterovirus with the majority of the cases due to the Coxsackie Virus A16 and Enterovirus71 (EV71).
EV71, which has since increased activity since March 2018, can cause complications such as dehydration, brain inflammation (encephalitis), cardiac failure and cardio-respiratory failure and death.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, apart from health promotion about personal hygiene, case separation and screening children before they attend sessions in childcare centres, kindergartens, pre-schools and schools, they also shut down premises that experienced a HFMD outbreak.
"Closures are for 10 days to ensure that the chain of infection ends and to clean the premises," he added.
A HFMD outbreak is defined as two or more cases in one locality during the same incubation period.
For schools, said Dr Noor Hisham, only the classes involved would be closed.
On July 17 (Tuesday), six nurseries and 12 kindergartens/pre-schools were closed.
A total of 419 premises have been closed to date, comprising 198 nurseries, 197 kindergartens/pre-schools and 23 schools.
The Health Ministry also reminded the public, especially parents, operators of the aforementioned child-centric institutions and schools, to not take HFMD-infected children to public places, schools, childcare centres or kindergartens.
"Take the child to a nearby health facility if the child shows symptoms of HFMD," said Dr Noor Hisham.
Among the tips provided were to always wash one's hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, after diaper changes and after touching or treating blisters on the child.
"The state of HFMD in Malaysia is still under control although the number of cases are increasing," said Dr Noor Hisham, adding that the Health Ministry will continue to monitor the situation.
"We ask the public to adhere to the advice given by healthcare providers. We hope for the cooperation of all parties and related agencies to enable us to handle this situation together," he added.
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