For the first four months of 2022, Malaysian health officials have reported a total of 22,463 cases of hand, foot and mouth diseases (HFMD) nationwide, an increase of 12.8 times compared to the same period in 2021, which saw only 1,752 cases.
21,508 cases, or 96% of the total are reported in children aged 0-6 years.
To date, a total of 767 outbreaks have been reported in Malaysia where the three (3) highest states recorded outbreaks are WP Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya which is 259 outbreaks (33.7%), followed by Selangor with 100 outbreaks (13.0%), and Perak 98 outbreaks ( 12.8%). The majority of outbreak locations occurred in kindergartens/ nurseries/ pre-schools with 600 outbreaks (72%) followed by private homes with 186 outbreaks (24%), and also childcare centers with 26 outbreaks (4%).
HFMD disease is caused by Enterovirus with the majority of cases caused by Coxsackie Virus A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71). The virus is spread by contact with saliva, blisters and feces. The infection is usually mild with symptoms of fever followed by a blistering rash on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue. Almost all patients with HFMD recover without treatment within seven (7) to ten (10) days. However, EV71 infection can cause severe complications such as encephalitis, pulmonary edema and myocarditis.
The MOH would like to advise the public, especially those with young children to take the following precautions to reduce their risk of infection:
- Wash hands with soap and clean water after using the toilet, before preparing food, after changing diapers and washing children’s stools;
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing;
- Do not share personal items such as toothbrushes, handkerchiefs, towels, blankets, cups, forks, and spoons;
- Always maintain cleanliness in homes, childcare centers, kindergartens and schools, and their surroundings;
- Regularly wash all toys and surfaces of tables, chairs, and floors at least twice (2) a day;
- Take children to the nearest clinic or hospital if they have signs or symptoms of infection;
- Parents are advised not to bring children with symptoms to crowded public places such as swimming pools, markets, shopping malls, bus stations, etc .; and
- Parents of children who show signs or symptoms of infection, do not send the child to a childcare center, nursery, kindergarten or school.
- Sick children should be taken to the clinic for treatment.
- In this regard, the MOH would like to re -emphasize the importance of implementing the five (5) practices below to control and prevent HFMD infection. MOH in collaboration with all relevant Ministries and agencies will further enhance prevention and control measures and emphasize the importance of the following practices;
- Personal hygiene;
- Proper hand washing practices;
- Environmental hygiene care;
Inspection / screening at the entrance (gatekeeping screening) of kindergartens / kindergartens / pre-schools and schools; and
- Disinfection or disinfection of contaminated surfaces.
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