MOH on alert as more HFMD cases reported

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working with its partner agencies to step up vigilance and preventive measures in response to a recent rise in the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The ministry said in a statement yesterday that it had alerted the Early Childhood Development Agency, Ministry of Education and People's Association to step up measures such as early-detection screenings, isolation of cases and maintenance of high standards of personal and environmental hygiene.

As of April 28, 36 childcare centres and kindergartens had been identified as having clusters of prolonged transmission this year, the MOH said. Two centres were earlier required to close, but none is currently closed because of HFMD, it said.

From April 17 to 23, there were 1,052 cases of HFMD, the highest since October 2013, according to media reports.

HFMD is a common childhood disease endemic in Singapore and outbreaks can be expected from time to time, said the MOH. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, rashes on the hands and feet and mouth ulcers.

In February, 15 national servicemen came down with the disease at the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong.

The predominant circulating strains are type-A Coxsackieviruses, which typically cause mild disease. No severe cases or deaths due to HFMD have been reported this year, said the MOH.

The ministry added that 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.

From April 17 to 23, there were 1,052 cases of HFMD, the highest since October 2013, according to media reports.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'MOH on alert as more HFMD cases reported'. Print Edition | Subscribe