The Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) is reporting a decrease in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in recent weeks.

The number of weekly cases for August 12 to August 18, 2018 showed a decrease of 1,304 (25.4%) compared to the previous week (August 5 to August 11, 2018); that is 3,826 cases compared to 5,130 cases.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) Image/shawn c
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Image/shawn c

The cumulative number of HFMD cases from January 1, 2018 to August 18, 2018 is 53,156. There have been two deaths attributed to HFMD and EV71 outbreaks– one (1) in Sarawak and one (1) in Pinang Island.

HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesionsand rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. The oral lesions consist of rapidly-ulcerating vesicles on the buccal mucosa, tongue, palate and gums. The rash consists of papulovesicular lesions on the palms, fingers and soles, which generally persist for seven to 10 days, and maculopapular lesions on the buttocks.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, andenteroviruses.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.

A person can lower their risk of being infected by:

  • Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys.
  • Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease.