Materia Medica Malaysiana

July 15, 2008

HFMD fears in Sarawak

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:08 am

Star: MIRI: Hospitals and clinics in Sarawak have been told to watch out for a possible outbreak of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in the coming months.
There was a minor scare last week in Miri City when a kindergarten shut down for a few days after several children showed HFMD symptoms.
The state Disaster Relief Committee and the health and medical authorities are not taking things for granted.
Chairman Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam sounded an early alert yesterday, saying precautions must be taken for a possible outbreak of HFMD.
He is particularly worried about the possible re-emergence of the usually lethal Enterovirus 71 (EV71) strain of HFMD that killed several people a few years ago in this state.
“The cases in Miri were isolated cases and they were not the EV71 type. They were of the ordinary HFMD strains. So far, only two EV71 cases were detected in Kuching this year.
“However, we are not taking anything for granted. There is a possibility that we will see another peak season for an HFMD outbreak next year.
“All relevant authorities have been told to take early precautionary measures to make sure we are fully prepared for any eventuality. Hospitals and clinics have been told to be on the lookout and help the state authorities monitor any unusual increase in infections,” Dr Chan, who is also the state Industrial Development Minister and State Agriculture Modernisation Minister, told a press conference yesterday.
He stressed that the Miri cases did not indicate an imminent outbreak.
Dr Chan said the experience from the 2006 HFMD outbreak (that resulted in more than 20,000 cases and 11 deaths) had enabled the health department and his committee to establish important data on how to deal with future outbreaks.
HFMD outbreaks usually follow a three-year cycle but the effect can be mitigated through cleanliness, proper hygiene and early detection, he added.

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