Weekly cases of hand, foot and mouth disease hit four-year high

A boy being checked for symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease before entering the classroom.
A boy being checked for symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease before entering the classroom.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Weekly cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have hit a four-year high, according to figures from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

There were 1, 317 cases reported last week (May 8-14). The last time numbers tipped over 1,300 was in 2012.

Earlier this month (May), the MOH said that it is working with its partner agencies to step up vigilance and preventive measures in response to a rise in the number of HFMD cases.

There have already been 15,579 cases this year, a 40 per cent increase from the 11,117 cases reported during the same period last year (2015).

Two childcare centres and kindergartens were earlier required to close this year, but none are currently closed because of HFMD, according to latest updates on the MOH website.

However, three centres with active clusters of prolonged transmission are now on a watch list put up by MOH. They are Wesley Vineyard Childcare in Serangoon North, PCF Sparkletots Jurong Spring, and Catholic Kindergarten at Maris Stella High School.

Symptoms of HFMD include fever, sore throat, rashes on the hands and feet and mouth ulcers. To minimise the spread of HFMD, high standards of hygiene should be observed by children and adults.

Any child exhibiting HFMD symptoms should also be kept away from school and crowded public places and be given medical attention early.

yuensin@sph.com.sg