GEORGE TOWN, May 12 — A total 959 cases of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have been recorded in Penang for epidemic week 18 of 2022, according to the state health department.

The number of HFMD cases in Penang saw an increase of 8.4 times from 102 cases for the same period last year.

In a statement released by the Infectious Diseases Control Unit in the Public Health Division of the state Health Department, out of the 959 HFMD cases in Penang, 300 cases (31.3 per cent) were in the southwest district, 216 cases (22.5 per cent) in the northeast district, 251 cases (26.2 per cent) in north Seberang Perai, 122 cases (12.7 per cent) in central Seberang Perai and 70 cases (7.3 per cent) in south Seberang Perai.

“A total 54 HFMD clusters have been reported for the epid week 18 of 2022 as compared to only seven clusters in the same period in 2021, which is an increase of 6.7 times,” it said.

To-date, a total 54 premises have been ordered to close but all of these premises have since resumed operations with the last premises reopening on May 3.

HFMD mostly affects children especially those in nurseries, kindergartens, daycare and pre-school centres.

Symptoms of the disease include fever followed by blisters on the hand, feet, mouth and tongue.

HFMD patients mostly recover without treatments within seven to 10 days.

However, those who were infected with the enterovirus 71 (EV71) could face serious complications such as encephalitis, pulmonary oedema and myocarditis.

The virus is spread via saliva, feaces, and touching objects or surfaces with the virus on them.