NIBONG TEBAL • A 17-month-old boy died in Penang on June 6 due to the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), 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 his death was caused by 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.
Last Saturday, a two-year-old boy from Mukah in Sarawak died from complications believed to be related to HFMD.
The boy was reported to have had a fever on Tuesday 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, 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 and playing materials, and has asked shopping centres to disinfect trolleys and play pens," he said.