Sabah HFMD cases up although national numbers are down

Dr Christina Rundi (third from right) sharing a light moment with a woman and her baby after launching the state-level World Breastfeeding Week in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has recorded a rise in hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) disease cases although the total number nationwide shows a decline in the past week.

State health director Dr Christina Rundi said 2,611 cases were detected in Sabah in the past week, up 411 from 2,200 cases in the previous week.

However, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad yesterday said the number of new HFMD cases reported nationwide dropped in the week up to last Friday by 182 cases to 770 compared to 952 in the previous reporting week.

Rundi said Kota Kinabalu continued to record the highest number of cases compared to other districts, with 564 cases followed by Beaufort (393), Penampang (258) and Sandakan (221).

A total of 24 nurseries, classrooms and schools remained closed due to the outbreak.

“Some children who have yet to enrol into nurseries have contracted this disease, some as young as two years. This is likely due to them being infected through their older siblings.

“Sometimes we focus too much on schools or nurseries when infections can also occur in other places,” she said after launching the state-level World Breastfeeding Week here today.

Rundi advised parents not to take their children to public places, especially if they showed signs of infection, adding they should get immediate medical treatment.

On the bird flu outbreak in Tuaran district, Rundi said no one has been reported to be infected since the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) declared Tuaran a bird flu epidemic area.

“This is a zoonotic disease, which means the disease can be transmitted from animals to humans.

“We are monitoring this but at this moment the disease has only been found in chickens,” she said, adding that health teams were assessing the situation in Tuaran.

“We urge the media and the public to inform us immediately if they hear of a large number of chickens dying for no apparent reason,” she said.

State Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Junz Wong said last week that a chicken farm in Kampung Kauluan, Tuaran, was found positive for avian influenza.

He said the DVS had disposed of all poultry within a 1km radius of the affected farm.

DVS director Abas Harun said the department will cull about 28,000 birds including chickens and wild birds following the outbreak.


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