HFMD cases dropping in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah health authorities have detected that cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have shown signs of slowing down from last week.

This is after the state recorded 528 cases in the 22nd epidemiological week from May 29 to June 4, compared to 725 cases in the previous corresponding week.

Sabah health director Datuk Dr Rose Nani Mudin said this represented a drop of 27.17% in cases, adding the state has recorded a cumulative 4,604 HFMD cases up to the 22nd epidemiological week.

From the cumulative cases, she said, 4,224, or 91%, involved children aged six and below.

She said that through enterovirus surveillance by the department, it was detected that 57 out of the 267 samples tested were found to be positive for HFMD.

The 57 samples comprised 39 pan-enterovirus positive samples and 18 Coxsackie A16 positive samples.

“These two viruses caused the disease to spread within the community in Sabah,” Dr Rose said in a statement here on Friday (June 10).

She said Tawau recorded the highest cumulative cases at 715, followed by Sandakan (615), Papar (470), Lahad Datu (428) and Kota Belud (399).

“No deaths have been reported so far in Sabah, with most of the infections occurring at private residences or early education centres.

“The disease is still under control in the state,” she said, adding the Sabah Health Department were still conducting town hall meetings with taska (childcare centre) operators from time to time.

Dr Rose also said the state health authorities have disinfected 6,980 out of the 7,568 premises inspected statewide.

She said 44 premises were initially closed under the Prevention and Control of Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), with 35 being reopened later.

“All early education operators are reminded to practise gate keeping measures in order to detect children with symptoms of contagious diseases including HFMD at the entry points into their premises.

“The management of these centres must be alert and ensure those with symptoms like fever, rashes and diarrhoea, among others, are not allowed to enter the schools,” she said.

Dr Rose also urged the centres to advise parents whose children are infected to send the pupils to health facilities as well as isolating them in another room away from other children.

“Parents are also reminded not to bring their children to high-risk infection places,” she said.

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