KUCHING: – Parents with children having Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) symptoms should confine them at home to curb the disease from spreading, Health Director-General Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman said today.

He said nurseries or kindergartens, whether run by government agencies or the private sector, should carry out daily health screening on children registered with them.

“Just follow this simple SOP (standard operating procedure) and it will be okay. If the children are sick, don’t send them to school.

“While generally, the disease normally occurred among children aged 10 and below, the majority of cases recorded in the current outbreak (in Sarawak) involved children aged five and below,” he told a press conference here.

Dr Hasan said checks carried out by the Health Department had revealed that the HFMD started from house dwellers who did not practised hygiene and cleanliness.

Although considered a mild disease, he said the HFMD could easily spread into an outbreak level, with deaths normally occuring in children who suffered dehydration due to the disease.

Dr Hasan noted that the experience gained in containing the disease — way back in 1997 which saw 29 deaths being recorded — had enabled the department to be more prepared to face the current outbreak where Sarawak topped the number of cases, with 3,144 cases, so far.

The figure is well above those recorded in other states and Federal Territories, which were between 40 and 940 cases.