JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - With most Malaysia states including Johor experiencing hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), the country's Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching advised Malaysian students who commute daily to study in Singapore to take extra precautions by observing hygiene.
She said although there were no reports of HMFD in Singapore, they should not take things for granted.
She advised parents of children who are studying in Singapore to bring these students to the doctor should they show symptoms of HMFD.
"The ministry is closely monitoring the situation in the country," Ms Teo told reporters after attending an event in JB.
She said only classes where students were infected with HMFD were closed between 10 and 14 days upon instructions from the Health Ministry.
Several thousand Malaysian students make the daily trek from Johor to attend Singapore schools.
Malaysia's Education Ministry said on Friday five schools in the country have been ordered to close for 10 days among the 830 schools in nationwide affected by the contagious disease as at July 25, says the Education Ministry.
They are the SJK (C) Shih Chung Cawang, a Chinese school, in Penang; SK Damak national school in Jerantut, Pahang; and three schools in Sabah state - SK Pekan Sipitang; SJK(C) Chung Hwa Sipitang; and SK St Patrick Sipitang, Sabah.
It was reported on Wednesday that 12 of the 13 Malaysian states had shown an increase in the number of HFMD cases. Only Sarawak was not on the list.
From Jan 1 until July 23, 35,886 HFMD cases were reported nationwide, the health ministry had said.
Johor state recorded a spike in HMFD cases with 2,215 cases from January until July 21, compared with 1,607 cases for the whole of 2017.
To prevent further spread, the government had ordered the closure of 469 premises nationwide including 217 nurseries and 223 kindergartens.
HFMD spreads through contact with nasal discharge, saliva and faeces, as well as fluids from the blisters of an infected person. A person infected with
HFMD is most contagious during the duration of the illness, with no known treatment available besides relief of symptoms such as fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, rashes and lethargy.