SIBU: A total of 7,358 cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) have been recorded in the state from the beginning of this year till Sept 21.
According to statistics from the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) of the state Health Department’s Communicable Disease Control Section, there were 11,903 cases during the corresponding period last year.
Kuching Division registered the most cases at 1,737, followed by Miri (1,712 cases), Sibu (1,022 cases), Samarahan (550 cases), Sarikei (487 cases), Limbang (387 cases), Bintulu (369 cases), Mukah (346 cases), Kapit (309 cases), Sri Aman (222 cases) and Betong (217 cases).
State Health director Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan told The Borneo Post yesterday that although the number of HFMD cases had breached the 7,000 mark, the situation was under control.
“The situation has not breached the alert level in the state.
“Kuching, Sibu and Miri are the highest because of natural distribution of population. Cases are mostly urban, but we noticed an increasing trend in the rural areas.”
CPRC statistics showed that the number of pre-schools closed till Sept 21 due to HFMD was 15.
Dr Zulkifli advised parents and caretakers to continue practising a high level of personal hygiene and cleanliness to keep the contagious disease at bay.
They should wash their hands regularly with soaps or hand sanitizer after visiting toilets, coughing or sneezing, and before preparing food.
He advised parents against bringing their children to crowded public places such as shopping malls and recreational parks.
“Parents must also ensure that their children are not sent to school if he or she is down with HFMD. They should practise self-isolation at home. This includes non-sharing of eating utensils and handkerchiefs.”
He stressed that it was mandatory for nurseries and schools to report to the department if they suspected a child was down with HFMD.
Dr Zulkifli stressed that if any child exhibited HFMD symptoms or were unwell, they must not be permitted into the premises to prevent the spread of the disease.
The caretakers or teachers needed to inform and advise the parents of the affected child to get immediate medical attention.
“Bring your children to the nearest clinic or hospital if they exhibit symptoms such as fever, rashes on the palms, legs and at times at the buttock, knee and elbow, or if they have ulcer.”
He added that both private clinics and hospitals were required to notify the authorities of HFMD cases.