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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 6 April 2008

Update on Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease situation in Singapore


Update On Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD) Situation In Singapore(1)
The number of HFMD cases has continued to increase with 702 cases notified in the week ending 29 March 2008. This brings the total number of cases to 4423 for the first 13 weeks of this year.
MOH’s sentinel surveillance has shown higher circulation of Enterovirus 71 (EV71) virus, with 21% of the virus isolates tested positive for EV71.
Of the cases notified in 2008, about 60% occurred in children aged less than 5 years. The majority of the cases were mild infections, only 57 (1.3%) cases required hospitalisation because of poor feeding.
Measures to break chain of transmission
HFMD is generally a mild and self-limiting disease. It is endemic and there will be yearly seasonal outbreaks.
However in view of the rising number of cases and the circulating Enterovirus 71 strain which has been known to cause complications occasionally, efforts are being stepped up to limit the spread of the disease.
As a precautionary measure, MOH, together with MOE and MCYS, have alerted all primary schools, kindergartens and childcare centres to step up hygiene measures and check for sick children. Doctors have been asked to be more vigilant in looking out for children with HFMD symptoms and to immediately refer patients with HFMD who have signs and symptoms of pneumonia, myocarditis, meningitis and encephalitis to the A & E Departments of KKH or NUH for further assessment by paediatricians.
The Ministry would like to stress the importance of maintaining high standards of personal and environmental hygiene to minimise the risk of HFMD. Parents should ensure that their children adopt the following good practices:

• Wash hands with soap before eating and after going to the toilet;
• Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing;
• Do not share eating utensils.

Parents should also ensure that toys or appliances that are contaminated by nasal or oral secretions should be cleaned before they are used again.
Parents should consult a doctor early if their child has fever, mouth ulcers and rashes on the palms, soles or buttocks. Children with HFMD should remain at home until all the blisters have dried up. During this period, contact with other children should be avoided until the child recovers. The child should not be brought to any public or crowded places. Proper hygiene should also be practiced at home so as to prevent transmission to other family members.
For more information on HFMD, please see the FAQs on MOH website at , or the guideline on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Child Care Centres / Kindergartens / Pre-School Centres at
1 APRIL 2008

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