Health ministry mulls action against childcare centres due to HFMD cases

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Action will be taken against operators of childcare centres when they record a high number of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) cases, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said today after a second death in Penang.

“If the care centres record a number of cases that reaches a dangerous level, the ministry will take stern action against them.

“So far no action has been taken against any operators, but it is important these centres themselves are aware of the importance of hygiene,” he said during Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat.

A 17-month-old baby boy in Penang was warded on June 4 with a fever and died just two days later.

A nasal swab test later confirmed the presence of the Enterovirus 71, one of the offending viral infections that causes HFMD.

Dzulkefly also stressed that operators of childcare centres should practise good hygiene and teach their young charges about it too, saying the recent outbreak could be attributed to poor habits.

“The outbreak is tied to the habits of self-hygiene and the general cleanliness of the surrounding areas.

“That is why it is important they start with themselves, and the owners make sure the habit of cleanliness is carried on and made a standard operating procedure,” he said.

Dzulkefly added that Selangor so far recorded the highest number of hand, foot, and mouth disease with 11,669 cases, Sarawak with 4,561 cases, the capital with 4,552 recorded cases, and Kelantan with 1,869 cases.


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