17-month-old baby dies from HFMD in Penang, first fatality in Malaysia

NIBONG TEBAL (BERNAMA) - A 17-month-old boy died in Penang on June 6 due to the hand, foot and mouth disease, said Malaysia's Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye.

He said it was the first fatality in Malaysia due to HFMD and that laboratory tests done on tissue samples from the boy confirmed that his death was because of the disease.

"The boy was admitted to a private hospital in Bayan Lepas, Penang on June 3 after experiencing flu, breathing difficulty and mouth ulcers but his condition deteriorated and he died three days after receiving treatment at the hospital.

"Tests carried out by specialists confirmed that his death was due to lung infection as a result of complications from Enterovirus 71 (EV71) which causes HFMD," he told reporters on Monday (July 30).

Last Saturday (July 21), a two-and-a-half-year-old boy from Kampung Pangtray, Daro, Mukah in Sarawak, died, believed to be related to HFMD.

The boy was reported to have fever on Tuesday (July 17) and developed rashes on his hands and feet and mouth ulcers the next day.

Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported as saying the boy's death was due to severe lung infection with HFMD infection and that clinical samples had been taken to find out the actual cause of death.

Meanwhile, Dr Lee said that since January to date, 39,174 cases of HFMD had been recorded throughout the country .

There were 2,894 cases in Penang, an increase of 116 per cent compared with the same period last year, he said.

He added that the ministry was intensifying efforts to contain the outbreak.

"Teachers have also been asked to screen pupils before they enter their schools. The ministry is also making available disinfectants to clean classrooms, playing materials and have asked shopping centres to disinfect trolleys and play pens," he said.