Over 50,000 cases of HFMD recorded, virus strain relatively benign

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 16 Aug 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 50,000 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) stemming from the Coxsackie virus have been reported since the outbreak of the disease, says Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.  

"Since January and as of Aug 14 (Tuesday) this year, a total of 51,147 HFMD cases have been detected.  

"Of this, 6,209 cases were recorded in Sarawak, representing 12.1% of the total number of cases," he said when replying a question raised by Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching) during Question Time in Parliament on Thursday (Aug 16).  

Dr Zulkefly said that of the total HFMD cases in Sarawak, 1,387 of them were recorded in Kuching.  

On the recent HFMD deaths, Dr Zulkefly said analysis confirmed that the two fatal cases were due to the children contracting the EV-71 virus strain.  

However, he assured lawmakers that the current HFMD epidemic was not stemmed from the EV-71 virus.  

"The current HFMD epidemic here is not as virulent or violent as that which affects countries such as China, which is due to the EV-71 strain.  

"What is happening here today is due to the Coxsackie virus, which is not EV-71," he said when answering a supplementary question raised by Siti Zailah Mohd Yusof (PAS-Rantau Panjang).  

Dr Dzulkefly noted that the EV-71 strain was the cause of seven deaths among children in 1997.  

He stressed that proper personal hygiene, cleanliness of surrounding, screening and disinfection of tainted areas were being carried out to stop the spread of HFMD.  

He added that it was also necessary to order the temporary closure of kindergartens, pre-schools and daycare centres where HFMD had been detected.  

On June 6, a 17-month-old boy died in Penang due to HFMD via the EV-71 strain.  

On July 28, a 27-month-old toddler from Mukah, Sarawak succumbed to severe pneumonia from the same strain.



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