GEORGE TOWN, May 12 — The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in Penang has increased by 8.4 times, as 959 cases were reported from January to May 7 this year as compared to 102 in the corresponding period last year.
State Agrotechnology and Food Safety, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said during the period, 54 HFMD clusters were reported compared to only seven in 2021 which was a 6.7-fold increase.
“HFMD disease is contagious and common among children who attend nurseries, childcare centres, kindergartens, day-care centres and pre-schools.
“A total of 54 premises were closed during the period but they are now operating as usual with the last premises involved reopened on May 3,” she said in a statement today.
Earlier health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said HFMD cases in the country saw a 12.8-fold increase, with 22,463 cases reported nationwide compared to 1,752 cases last year.
Norlela said the virus can spread through contact with saliva, blister fluid and faeces of patients and usually the infection is mild with symptoms of fever followed by blisters and rashes on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue.
She said children with HFMD would recover without treatment within seven to 10 days.
In this regard, she advised the public to take precautionary measures such as washing hands with soap and maintaining cleanliness at home to reduce the risk of infection.
Children with symptoms are advised not to attend school to avoid infecting others and the practice of proper hand washing and disinfecting contaminated surfaces should always be encouraged, she added.