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‘All must play role to control HFMD outbreak’

KUCHING: The people including those in the private sector are encouraged, as part of their CSR programmes, to play a major role in controlling a possible outbreak of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The assistance can include donating sanitisers to schools to curb the spread of the disease, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

We must all play a part in helping to curb this menace for the safety of our children and to prevent unwanted incidents from happening.

The statistics and increasing number of HFMDs across the country call for greater vigilance and more cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the relevant agencies including members of the public.

Based on answers given by the Minister of Health in Parliament, 39,408 HFMD cases were recorded between Jan 1 and July 29 this year, with Selangor having the highest number at 11,669, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,552) and Sarawak (4,551), Dr Yii said.

With the recent news of the death of a 17-month-old baby from HFMD in Penang, and also the death of a two-year-old toddler from Mukah, it is important that urgency be shown to the matter and greater awareness among the public especially in taking precautionary measures so that the HFMD situation will not escalate, and claim more lives.

This disease is endemic and occurs the whole year long in Malaysia. It is closely connected to personal and environmental hygiene, especially among children below 7 years old in such places as nurseries, play schools, kindergartens, and even public playgrounds.

Due to the increase of cases in Malaysia, and in Sarawak, I welcome the Ministry of Health’s initiative to control the spread of this disease.

This campaign will be done intensively in the next three weeks covering five main issues including personal hygiene, correct ‘hand-washing’ practices, hygiene of surrounding environment, gate-keeping screening in all nurseries, pre-schools and kindergartens and also disinfection of the different contaminated surfaces, he said.

On long-term preventive plans, there will be more training given to the owners of educational premises and their handlers on a yearly basis.

HFMD is a disease caused by viruses Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71, which are transmitted through direct contact with the nasal fluid, saliva, blisters and stool of the affected individual. Among the symptoms are fever, rash or blisters on the palms and feet as well as ulcers in the mouth and on the tongue.


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