2,012 HFMD outbreaks reported in Malaysia, Sarawak ranks third highest

An MOH graphic describing the significant increase in HFMD cases in Malaysia.

KUCHING, June 21: A total of 2,012 Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreaks were reported in Malaysia today.

The top three states which recorded the highest numbers of outbreaks are Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (650) or 32.3 per cent; followed by Sarawak with 312 outbreaks or 15.5 per cent and Selangor contributing 252 (12.5 per cent).

According to Bernama, a Health Ministry (MoH) statement revealed the majority of these outbreaks occurred in nurseries, kindergartens, and pre-schools (56 per cent or 1,131) followed by private homes at 40 perbcent (794) and childcare centers at three per cent (57).

An outbreak is defined through the occurrence of HFMD cases with a total of two or more in one locality and the cases are epidemiologically relevant and occuring during the HFMD incubation period.

Meanwhile, Malaysia saw a 39-fold increase in HFMD cases from Jan 1 until June 18 this year.

A total of 106,477 cases were detected during the period, an increase from 2,710 cases in the pre-pandemic year.

While the cases reported nationwide from June 12 to 18 totalled 10,556, it was a decrease of 19.3 per cent compared to the week earlier from June 5 to 11 which recorded 13,077 cases.

Eighty-nine per cent (95,175) of total infections were detected among children aged below six-years-old, followed by nine per cent (9,183) involving seven to 12-year-olds.

Only two per cent of the total cases reported involved children aged above 12.

Selangor reported the highest number of cases with 29,880 total infections to date, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with 11,687 cases, Perak with 10,938 cases, Johor with 7,052 cases and Kelantan 6,532 cases.

Based on the ministry’s surveillance on what causes the spread of HFMD in the community, there were three major viruses namely Enterovirus 71 (EV71), Coxsackie A6 (CA6) and Coxsackie A16 (CA16).

On the other hand, two HFMD cases are still being treated in Intensive Care Units as it involves brain inflammation (encephalitis).

Urging the public to take HFMD seriously, the ministry said these cases will not reduce without co-operation from everyone, especially parents, employers and caregivers in kindergartens, as well as teachers in pre-schools and schools.

All parties are urged to practise preventive measures among themselves and family members by practising hygiene such as washing hands with soap and clean water after going to the toilet, changing diapers, and after touching or treating blisters.

Parents or guardians with children showing signs of HFMD infection are advised not to take their children to public places, schools, nurseries, kindergartens or daycare centers as it can spread to other children.

Teachers and caregivers should also conduct screening at the entrance of their premises to ensure that children have no signs of HFMD infection. Those with symptoms are advised not to attend school.

At the same time, all homes and premises including frequently touched surfaces and floors such as toilets as well as equipment and appliances used by children must be cleaned and disinfected daily using a mixed chlorine solution. — DayakDaily