A HFMD disease outbreak in Malaysia forced special measures in schools

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A total 930 of the cases are concentrated in the Northeast district of the island, around George Town. “Sixty-five premises have been closed since January including 13 nurseries, four schools, two kindergartens and one child care centre for 10 days for cleaning works following the HFMD cases reported there,” State Health Department director Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah said. HFMD is a contagious disease caused by viral infections of the Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71) strains. The virus is spread through saliva, blisters and feces of those infected.

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Health screening at the school

Symptoms of the disease included fever, rashes or blisters on the palms and feet and ulcers in the mouth and tongue as well as symptoms and signs of upper respiratory tract infection. Daily HFMD checks at schools started on Monday since the outbreak of the disease became public. Students are obliged to pass a health inspection. Just as they pass the school gates before the dawn sky can brighten, they are greeted by five to six teachers wearing surgical gloves and masks. Teachers check their mouth cavities for ulcers and rashes. Their temperature is verified with infrared thermometers and open palms are screened for rashes or blisters. This will continue until the epidemic will be under control. There is currently no vaccine to protect against the involved viruses and there is no specific treatment for HFMD disease.

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