1 February 2007 - Disease forces 3 kindergartens to close

Three kindergartens in Sarawak were closed after cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) were detected by a health team yesterday.

They were Sedidik Jaya in Sri Aman and Kindergarten Methodist Sze Hua and Tadika St Clement, both in Sarikei.

All districts were being monitored to prevent another outbreak.

Up to the fourth week this year, 132 cases have been reported, with 40 cases in Kuching, 23 in Sarikei and Sibu, 14 in Bau and 12 in Miri.

HFMD is endemic in Sarawak. It occurs once every three years. The last outbreak was in early last year. The outbreak was declared over on Oct 3.

On Jan 24, the state health department issued an alert to all districts and hospitals when the Institute of Health and Community Medicine of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak reported that it had detected the EV71 virus in Kuching, Sarikei, Miri and Limbang.

All districts had been told to step up preventive measures and investigate reports of the disease.

Checks must also be made at childcare centres, nurseries and pre-schools.

24 September 2006 - Eastern Malaysia reports more HFMD cases

Sarawak state in eastern Malaysia has reported 19 new cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in the past 24 hours, an official said Saturday.

Among the new cases detected up to 10 a.m. local time (0200 GMT) Saturday, nine children have been hospitalized. There were no critically ill case.

Ten of the new cases were detected in Miri and the rest in Sibu, Kapit, Samarahan and Bintulu.

The latest figure brought the total number of children infected with HFMD so far to 14,392.

The HFMD epidemic has hit Sarawak in two waves this year and claimed 13 lives.

11 September 2006 - Sarawak Requests Federal Funds For HFMD Study

Sarawak, which has been hit twice by the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) epidemic this year, is requesting more funds from the Health Ministry to undertake further study on its transmission dynamics.

The state had the expertise to carry out the study, which was necessary to establish a base level for HFMD cases, before it could be declared HFMD-free within the next few weeks.

"The disease is endemic to Sarawak but it is important to know if five or six new cases detected daily should be considered as a normal level, especially as it is such a new phenomenon," he told a press conference at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya here.

The first HFMD outbreak surfaced on Jan 29 while the second on May 7 and has claimed 13 lives so far, including seven who were tested positive for the deadly Enterovirus 71 (EV71).

The Sarawak Health Department was monitoring the situation, which was now stable with the last HFMD-related death reported on Aug 8.

13 new cases were detected with six children admitted to the hospitals over the last 24 hours up to 10am today, though none are critically ill.

With the latest figures, the total number of reported cases stood at 14,227 with a total of 2,835 children hospitalised for the disease so far.

For the past three years the department had been collaborating with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas)'s Health and Community Medicine Faculty for a breakthrough in producing a vaccine for HFMD.

As such, he said federal funding was very much needed to conduct a detailed study for which Sarawak had the expertise, including Prof Dr Jane Cardoza, who had wide experience in dealing with Japanese encephalitis (JE) and malaria.

28 Aug 2006 - 8 more children hospitalized for HFMD in eastern Malaysia

Eight more children were hospitalized for the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) during the past 24 hours in eastern Malaysia, an official said Sunday.

Up to 10 a.m. Sunday in Sarawak state, 18 new HFMD cases were detected but no one was critically ill.

Among the new cases, seven were detected in Sibu division, followed by six in Miri and five in Bintulu.

The latest figures brought the total number of children infected with the disease to 13,969 since it broke out early this year in this eastern state.

So far, the HFMD has claimed 13 lives, including seven who were tested positive for the deadly Enterovirus 71 (EV71).

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