There’s been an alarming number of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease cases in Malaysia.
More than 35,000 cases have been reported around the country since the start of 2018, with a rise in cases in all states except Sarawak.
To combat the problem, several hundred premises nationwide have been closed, including nurseries and kindergartens.
Other measures include awareness campaigns and disinfecting the environment after school or daycare sessions.
Shared children’s toys have been identified as one of the main causes of the spread.
In Penang, some of the causes have been identified as the toys and chairs in shopping malls, as well as supermarket trolley handles.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health posts regular updates on the local situation on its website.
It includes a list of the names of childcare centres and kindergartens that have more than 10 HFMD cases.
Centres that have had an outbreak are required to close for 10 days to break the chain of HFMD transmission.
Read on to find out more about HFMD so you can help prevent the spread of the disease.
What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?
HFMD is a common childhood viral infection that is caused by a group of enteroviruses, most commonly the Coxsackie virus.
Those suffering from HFMD usually show symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, ulcers on the inside of the mouth or sides of the tongue, and rashes or small blisters on the palms, soles of the feet and buttocks.
The disease has an incubation period of three to five days and although both adults and children can be affected, children below the age of five are more susceptible.
How does it spread?
It’s spread through contact with the nasal discharge, saliva, faeces or fluids from the rash of an infected person.
Can it be treated?
There is no treatment for the disease, though medication can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms.
There is also no vaccine for HFMD.