KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 — The number of foot, hand and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the country had increased at a worrying rate of 20 fold with 47,209 cases reported as of May 21 this year compared to only 2,237 cases in the corresponding period last year.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said 15,548 cases were recorded nationwide in the 20th epidemiology week ending May 21, which is an increase of 106.6 per cent from only 7,526 cases recorded in the previous week.
“The majority of the disease outbreaks occurred in nurseries, kindergartens and pre-schools with 711 outbreaks or 61 per cent of the total cases, followed by private homes with 407 outbreaks or 35 per cent and also childcare centres with 42 outbreaks (three per cent),” he said in a statement today.
Selangor recorded the largest number of HFMD cases with 13,640 cases or 28.9 per cent of the total, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya with 6,206 cases (13.1 per cent), Perak with 4,099 cases (8.7 per cent), Kelantan with 3,726 cases (7.9 per cent) and Sabah with 3,352 cases (7.1 per cent) while other states reported fewer than 2,500 cases.
Dr Noor Hisham said a total of 1,168 outbreaks were reported in Malaysia so far with three states recording the highest number, namely Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya at 413 (35.4 per cent), followed by Selangor Selangor at 143 (12.2 per cent) and Perak at 130 (11.1 per cent).
He said most of the HFMD cases occurred among children below the age of six which was evident in 43,736 cases (93 per cent), followed by those aged seven to 12 (2,765 cases or six per cent) and those over the age of 12 (696 cases or one per cent).
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that state health departments and district health offices nationwide had conducted engagement sessions with the agencies that supervise the management of nurseries, kindergartens and pre-schools since the 17th epidemiological week following the increase in HFMD cases in most states.
He said the engagement sessions emphasised gatekeeping screenings; correct hand-washing practices; disinfection of children’s toys, house floor and toilets; proper management of disposable diapers; and use of separate eating and drinking utensils.
Dr Noor Hisham also reminded the public, especially parents with small children, not to take their children to places where there is a risk of infection, such as public playgrounds.
The public is also advised to report HFMD cases occurring in their children’s nurseries, kindergartens and schools to the nearest district health office for control action.