According to the Minister of Health (MOH), in 2018 alone, there has been a total of 39,408 Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases in Malaysia. Besides the significant growth of 28% compared to previous years, Malaysians were further shocked with the first fatality of a 17-month old baby from Penang due to HFMD.
What Caused HFMD And How Does It Spread?
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral illness caused most commonly by Coxsackievirus A16 or Enterovirus and is seen most often in children younger than 5 years old. Children are more susceptible to HFMD because their immunisation and antibody are not as strong as the adults. However, it is possible for older children and adults to contract HFMD as well. The illness tends to be more severe in adults.
HFMD virus is contagious and infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, blister fluid, or stools of infected persons. Recently, HFMD virus was also found on the handlebars of shopping trolleys. Due to lack of awareness on hygiene practices among the public, HFMD can be hard to control as it can also be transmitted through direct contact with contaminated surfaces in public places.
However, the disease is a self-limiting illness that usually clears without medication in 10 days. If you are infected with HFMD, you are advised to rest and drink plenty of water. Other symptoms such as fever and pain from mouth ulcers can be treated with medication.
MOH is working closely with local councils and health practitioners to contain HFMD. Meanwhile, the state health department in Penang and Malacca have also instructed shopping malls to sanitise their trolleys, child rides, benches and place hand sanitiser at common areas to minimise potential virus transmission.
How Can We Protect Ourselves From HFMD In The Public Area?
Apart from relying on government’s initiatives in controlling HFMD, we as an individual are also responsible to protect ourselves this disease. Here are some precaution measures that we can take:
It is crucial that everyone plays an active role to control HFMD from spreading to others. As the experts in hygiene, we are committed to increase hygiene standards through our innovations and hygiene knowledge.
Throughout the years, Initial Malaysia has initiated various educational talks in schools and local community to promote better hygiene standards. Besides that, our experts have also been giving hygiene trainings to the commercial customers to instil good personal and hand hygiene habits.
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