KOTA KINABALU: Seven schools in Sabah have been ordered to close temporarily due to the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said in addition, four nurseries and 10 kindergartens and pre-schools in the state had been told to cease operation for the time being because of HFMD.
“The number of schools closed down temporarily nationwide due to HFMD is nine, with the others (besides Sabah) being one each in Pahang and Penang.
“There are a total of 2,200 cases of HFMD in Sabah to date. The nationwide cases stand at 40,198, with an average of 73 cases detected weekly,” he told reporters at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here today.
He added that all districts in Sabah had recorded cases of HFMD, with the most detected in Kota Kinabalu, Beaufort, Penampang and Sandakan.
However, he said there was no need to close all schools in the country due to HFMD.
“There is no need for such aggressive intervention but the operators of premises such as nurseries, kindergartens and pre-schools must ensure the cleanliness of their surroundings.
“The teachers or caregivers should also maintain their own hygiene, especially when handling children and food stuff.”
He said these steps were enough to keep the disease from spreading.
“Hopefully the trend will go down in the coming week,” Dzulkefly said, adding that the health ministry was working closely with the education ministry and the welfare department, among others, to handle the situation.