A total of 1,636 cases of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) was reported in the state till the 17th Epidemiology Week ending April 30.
It recorded an increase of 10.6 times compared to the same epidemiology week in 2021 with 140 cases.
According to the recent Facebook statement of the State Health Department (JKN Perak), the highest number of HFMD cases was reported among children aged 6 and below with 1,557 cases (95.1%), followed by the 7 to 12 years olds with 70 cases (4.3%) and the rest at over 12 years old.
An HFMD outbreak will be reported when there are two or more cases detected within the same premises within 10 days which are the two incubation periods of this infection.
Till the 17th Epidemiology Week, a total of 100 outbreaks was reported in the state, with the following three districts recording the highest number: Kinta (28 outbreaks, 28%), Larut, Matang and Selama (18 outbreaks (18%) and Hulu Perak (8 outbreaks, 8%).
The majority of the outbreaks occurred at kindergartens / preschools (69 outbreaks, 69%), followed by private homes (28 outbreaks, 28%), child care centres (2 outbreaks, 2%) and primary schools (1 outbreak,1%).
The HFMD is caused by the enteroviruses, with a majority of the cases caused by Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71). The virus is spread through contact with saliva, fluid from the blister and faeces of the HFMD patient.
JKN Perak stressed on implementation of the five practices to curb HFMD which include taking care of personal hygiene, proper hand-washing, surrounding cleanliness, gatekeeping screening at kindergartens / preschools and schools as well as disinfection of high-touch surfaces.
The infection is usually mild and includes symptoms like fever and rash at hand, foot, mouth and tongue. Almost all patients recover without treatment in 7 to 10 days.
However, infection by the EV71 can cause severe complications such as encephalitis, pulmonary edema and myocarditis.
JKN Perak advised all, especially those with young kids, to take prevention steps to reduce the risks of being infected.
“Parents and guardians of kids showing symptoms of HFMD are urged to not send them to child care centres, pre-schools or schools to prevent them from infecting their friends.
“At the same time, parents are urged to not bring the symptomatic children to public places such as swimming pools, shopping malls, markets, bus stations and others. Sick children should be brought to the clinics for treatment.