GEORGE TOWN: The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the state has seen a surge over the past three days, the Penang Health Department said today.
Some 250 new cases were recorded over the past three days, from July 15 to 17, with 49 cases recorded on Sunday, 74 on Monday and 127 cases yesterday.
This brings the total number of cases recorded as of yesterday to 2,082, which is a 93.5% increase compared with 1,076 cases within the same period last year.
Twelve new HFMD clusters were recorded over the last three days, bringing the current total of clusters to 92.
A total of 10 HFMD victims remain warded as of yesterday, one in the Penang Hospital and 10 in private hospitals.
Some 32 premises remain shut as of yesterday, comprising seven primary schools, seven nurseries, 11 kindergartens, a childcare centre and six preschool facilities.
A total of three classes at SJKC Moh Gee Pusat — a school located on the island — were ordered closed yesterday for 10 days after seven HFMD cases were reported.
The schools where classes remain shut as of yesterday are SJKC Shih Chung (39 classes), SJKC Sum Sun (9), SJKC Chong Cheng (11), SK Sungai Bakap (1), SJKC Sum Min 1 (4) and SK Saujana Indah (3).
HFMD is caused by a viral infection, specifically of the Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71) types. The virus spreads through contact with saliva, blisters and faeces of patients.
The infections are usually mild with fever symptoms, followed by blisters on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue.
Operators and those in childcare have been urged to always ensure their premises, especially their tools and utensils, are kept clean.
Nurseries and kindergartens should also report any HFMD clusters to the health district office for control and prevention, it added.