GEORGE TOWN, July 16 — Fifteen people have been hospitalised for hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in the state while 23 locations have been ordered closed over the same outbreak.
According to a daily report by the Penang Health Department, eight more HFMD cases were reported on Saturday, bringing the total since January to 1,832 cases.
The number represents a 71.2 per cent increase from the same period last year.
Of the premises closed to limit the spread of the disease, seven are primary schools, five are nurseries, eight are kindergartens and three are pre-schools.
Of the 15 patients warded, three are being treated in Penang Hospital, two in Seberang Jaya Hospital, one in Bukit Mertajam Hospital while nine others are in private hospitals in the state.
Only one primary school — SJKC Shih Chung — was fully closed while only affected classes were suspended at the other six.
Six classes are closed in SJKC Phor Tay, nine classes in SJKC Sum Sun, 11 classes in SJKC Chong Cheng, one class in SK Sungai Bakap, four classes in SJKC Sum Min 1 and three classes in SK Saujana Indah.
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 on the tongue.