KUCHING (May 28): Social activist Voon Shiak Ni calls on the relevant authorities in Sarawak as well as childcare centres and kindergartens to be on alert and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
She said this following the rise in the number of reported cases in Malaysia in the last few months.
“Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reported that the admission of positive cases has increased by 20 times from the figure last year with the highest cases recorded in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
“More than 47,000 hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases have been reported nationwide as of May this year, according to the Health Ministry, with two cases in intensive care units (ICUs).
“With Sabah now reporting an increasing trend of the infections (HFMD), it is necessary that childcare centres and kindergartens in the state are on the alert, and initiate the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the infectious disease,” she said.
Voon said the majority of transmissions usually occurred at the early education centres as children under five were more vulnerable to the disease. In Sabah it was reported that 93.1 per cent of the cases there were children under six.
HFMD is very contagious and has an incubation period of three to seven days. An infected person may not exhibit any symptoms of the disease for 3 to 7 days.
The disease can spread through contaminated surfaces and thus increasing the risks of exposure when children mingle, touch surfaces of tables and furniture and or shares their toys.
HFMD is easily transmitted through surfaces contaminated by fluids from sneezing, coughing or touch from an infected child and some of the early symptoms are fever, sore throat and ulcers in the mouth.