959 cases of HFMD detected in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the state has increased by 8.4 times, with 959 cases reported from January to May 7 this year compared to 102 in the corresponding period last year.

State agrotechnology and food safety, rural development and health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said during the period, 54 HFMD clusters were reported compared to only seven in 2021, a 7.7-fold increase.

“HFMD is contagious and common among children who attend nurseries, childcare centres, kindergartens, day-care centres and preschools.

“A total of 54 premises were closed during the period, but they are now operating as usual with the last premises involved reopened on May 3,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Earlier, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said HFMD cases in the country saw a 12.8-fold increase, with 22,463 cases reported nationwide compared to 1,752 cases last year.

Norlela said the virus could spread through contact with saliva, blister fluids and faeces of patients, and usually the infection was mild, with symptoms of fever followed by blisters and rashes on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue.

She said children with HFMD would recover without treatment within seven to 10 days.

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