GEORGE TOWN, July 10 — The Penang Health Department ordered two primary schools, a nursery, 13 kindergartens and one daycare centre to close for 10 days after hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) cases were reported in the premises.
Penang Health department director Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah said the 17 premises were the most recent places to be closed.
He said a total 60 places were ordered to close due to HFMD since January this year.
He said as at 11.15am today, a total 1,679 HFMD cases were reported, which is an increase of 56.47 per cent compared to 1,073 cases in the same period last year.
“Currently, three patients, between the ages of two and 10 years, are still being treated in hospital, one in Seberang Jaya Hospital and two in the Penang Hospital,” he said.
Earlier today, state Health, Agriculture, Agro-based Industry and Rural Development Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said the affected schools and kindergartens had to be closed so that the premises could be cleaned to prevent the spread of the disease.
“The state government will approve quarantine leave to civil servants whose children are infected with HFMD to allow them to take care of the children at home,” he said.
He added that he hoped the private sector would also allow parents, whose children were infected, to take leave to take care of their children at home.
He then called on parents to cooperate by not sending their children to school if they showed symptoms of the disease to prevent its spread.
“The state views the spread of this disease seriously and hope parents will comply with our advisory for children infected with HFMD to be quarantined at home,” he said.
HFMD is caused by viral infections of the Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71) strains.
The virus is spread through saliva, blisters and faeces of those infected.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, rashes or blisters on the palms and feet and ulcers in the mouth and tongue.