PUTRAJAYA: The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases in the country has exceeded the national alert level of 1,150 cases per week.
Health director-general Dr Radzi Abu Hassan said Selangor contributed the highest number of cases at 2,443, or 24.9% of the total number of cases, in the week until May 13.
This was followed by Sabah (1,505 cases), the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (977), Johor (915) and Sarawak ( 750). Other states reported fewer than 700 cases each.
Radzi said 9,822 cases had been reported so far this year. Although it was lower compared to the cases reported for the same period in 2022 (31,622), an increase was detected from April 30 to May 6.
This exceeded the national average level of 722 cases of HFMD per week.
“Based on enterovirus surveillance this year, the two main viruses that cause HFMD were detected among the sampled cases – Coxsackie A6 (CA6) and Coxsackie A16 (CA16).
“No HFMD cases were treated in the intensive care unit and there were no HFMD deaths,” Radzi said in a statement here today.
He said HFMD cases mostly occurred among children aged six and below, totalling 8,587 or 87.4% of the cases.
“Institutions, where children gather, are among the places where HFMD transmission often occurs. Sometimes, HFMD clusters can occur.
“This is especially if the environment is not kept clean and infected children go to that institution,” he said.
He said a total of 273 clusters were reported in 2023 until May 13, with 170 clusters with 675 cases reported in nurseries, kindergartens, pre-schools and daycare centres.
Another 101 clusters occurred in private homes and two in schools.
Following the increase in cases, Radzi advised the public to take preventive measures to control the spread.
For a start, parents or guardians of children who have signs of HFMD infection should not take their children to public places, schools, nurseries, kindergartens and childcare centres because they can spread the infection.
Children should wash their hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, after changing diapers and after touching or treating blisters.
Children’s toys and the floor of the house, including the toilet, must be cleansed using a chlorine mixture solution. Disposable diapers must be discarded properly.
Employers and caretakers at nurseries, kindergartens and childcare centres must always ensure the cleanliness of the premises, including the equipment and utensils used by children.
They must screen all children at the entrance to ensure they have no signs of HFMD infection.