KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — There is a need to raise the awareness of the Head, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) among parents to ensure the number of cases does not escalate, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Rembau MP said parents need to know how to spot early signs of the disease so that they can seek treatment and more importantly, not send their child to daycare, kindergarten or schools where the disease could run rampant.
“First, we need to increase awareness among parents on what the disease actually looks like, especially to look for early signs — so that they don't send their children to schools or daycare centres.
“A lot of cases are in daycares or kindergartens because kids like to put their hands in their mouths, and we know that is how the disease spreads. So we need to educate parents on what HFMD is, how it is spread and what are the steps to take when you feel there are early signs,” he said to reporters in a press conference today.
He said that parents also have a responsibility to educate their children on personal hygiene like washing their hands to ensure the disease does not spread.
Khairy added that owners of childcare centres also have a responsibility to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene level of their premises.
“Owners of these childcare centres must also sanitise their premises. Hygiene standards must be met everyday and all surfaces should be cleaned to prevent the spread of HFMD,” he said.
He said that the MySejahtera application also has a function to track other diseases other than Covid-19, such as HFMD, to help parents make informed decisions on if it is safe to send their kids to school, adding that the district health clinics would also inform local residents of an outbreak in their area.
“Let’s say I open my MySejahtera app and see there are over 500 cases in my area. I, as a father, can now check with the kindergarten I send my child if there are any cases of HFMD there, and if cleanliness levels are met there,” he said.
As of May 17, Malaysia recorded 31,661 cases of HFMD, 15 times the amount that was recorded within the same period last year.
Last year, the country recorded only 2,121 cases in the same epidemiology week report.
Dr Noor Hisham in a statement today said 1,676 HFMD cases were recorded in the previous epidemiology week report compared to this week’s staggering 7,526 cases, a 349 per cent increase.
He said that a total of 889 outbreaks were reported in Malaysia where the three highest states with recorded outbreaks were Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, with 309 outbreaks (35 per cent), followed by Selangor with 111 outbreaks (12 per cent), and Perak 105 outbreaks (12 per cent).