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Borneo, Sarawak

Health Department warns of recurrent HFMD outbreak

THE State Health Department has warned that the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreak in the State could recur despite the number of new cases dropping generally.

Sarawak Health Department’s crisis preparedness and response centre senior assistant director Dr Noorzilawati Sahak pointed out that an outbreak could recur during the upcoming school holidays and Gawai Dayak celebration.

She advised the public to practise good hygiene and avoid crowded public places to prevent more cases from occurring.

I realise it will be quite impossible to keep the kids from crowded areas this Gawai.

There will be plenty of shopping to do in the next few weeks.

Those of us from rural longhouses and villages will be making the trip home.

Many of us will be using public transportation such as buses, express boats and planes.

Even those of us lucky enough to be able to drive back in our own vehicles will be making some stops along the way and there will likely be crowds where we stop for a break.

During Gawai itself, there will be many family reunions and also visitors to open houses.

It will be impossible to avoid crowds! Let’s admit it to ourselves, how could it be Gawai otherwise?

As responsible parents and guardians, we can, however, protect our children by ensuring they practise good hygiene.

I know I have said it before, but I will continue saying it until HFMD is no longer a threat in Sarawak.

Here are some simple steps we can teach the children and also ensure we practise ourselves, particularly in public places:

  1. Wet hands with running water.
  2. Add soap, and then rub hands together, making a soapy lather away from running water for at least 15 to 20 seconds, being careful not to wash the lather away. Wash the front and back of your hands, as well as between fingers and under nails.
  3. Rinse hands well under running water.
  4. Pat hands dry with a paper towel or tissues.
  5. Turn off the tap using the same paper towel or tissue and dispose of it properly.

As of April 28, the cumulative number of HFMD cases in the State stood at 5,445.

This is a ridiculous figure if you compare it to the just 637 recorded in the same period last year.

The Kuching Division recorded the highest number at 1,973, followed by Samarahan (657), Bintulu (612), Miri (438), Sarikei (328), Limbang (327), Betong (278), Sri Aman (251), Sibu (231), Mukah (177), and Kapit (173).

Let’s make sure we practise good hygiene to ensure it really is a happy Gawai!

The Bernama report:

Health Department Cautions Against HFMD Recurrent Outbreak Despite Decline

KUCHING, April 30 (Bernama) — The number of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases reported in Sarawak has generally decreased.

Nevertheless, the public have been advised to practise good hygiene and avoid crowded public places to prevent a recurrent outbreak, especially during the coming school holidays and Gawai Dayak festival.

Sarawak Health Department’s crisis preparedness and response centre senior assistant director Dr Noorzilawati Sahak said, all divisions showed a decreasing trend, except for Samarahan, Bintulu, and Sibu during the previous week, from April 22-28.

As of April 28, the cumulative number of cases stood at 5,445, as compared to 637 within the same period last year, with the Kuching division recording the highest number at 1,973, followed by Samarahan (657), Bintulu (612), Miri (438), Sarikei (328), Limbang (327), Betong (278), Sri Aman (251), Sibu (231), Mukah (177), and Kapit (173).

Dr Noorzilawati said this Monday, when giving the weekly HFMD update.

— BERNAMA

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