A two year old in Sarawak reportedly died of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) yesterday, 28 July
The child, Farhan Lukman Abdullah, was from Kampung Pangtray, Daro in Mukah.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed that he had a fever and showed signs of rashes on the palms and feet, as well as oral ulcers on Tuesday 24 July, The Star reported.
After being taken to the Daro health clinic on Wednesday, Farhan was diagnosed with and treated for HFMD
According to New Straits Times, the child was taken to the Emergency and Trauma Department at Daro Hospital on Friday in an unstable condition, and was referred to Sibu Hospital for future treatment.
However, Farhan died at Sibu Hospital on Saturday, 28 July from severe pneumonia with HFMD infection.
"Clinical samples were taken to verify the cause of death," explained Dr Noor Hisham.
Farhan's remains were brought back to Kampung Pangtray, Daro, and buried at the Kampung Lemang Pek Muslim cemetery
"Before this, he was always a very active child and would always play with his sister," said Farhan's mother, Mastura Ali, New Straits Times reported.
"Then he contracted HFMD and he became weak and lethargic and lost his appetite as well. At nights, especially, he would cry and could not sleep," the 33-year-old added.
"He has left us forever. But though we feel the loss, we accept it as God’s will," said another relative.
Since 1 January, there have been 37,986 reported cases of HFMD, which spreads through contact with saliva, blisters, and faeces of an infected person
According to New Straits Times, there has been a rise compared to the corresponding period last year in all states except Sarawak.
Selangor has the highest number of HFMD cases at 11,349, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,428) and Sarawak (4,412).
"The number of outbreaks detected is 1,093, with 539 premises temporarily shut down as a result. Of the total number of premises closed, 241 were nurseries, 259 were kindergartens and 39 were schools," said Health Minister Dr Zulkefly Ahmad.
Although HFMD is a mildly infectious contagious disease, the risks are high if not treated early
Public health specialist in the health ministry's Disease Control Division, Dr Norita Shamsudin explained that, "Viral infections, especially Enterovirus 71 (EV71), can cause complications like dehydration, brain inflammation, heart and lung failure, and ultimately death," she said, Free Malaysia Today reported.
Though the viral infection can affect both adults and children, children below five years old are more susceptible.
The Health Ministry (MOH) has "strongly urged" parents not to bring their children to school or any other crowded public places if they are are exhibiting symptoms.
Malaysian students commuting daily to schools in Singapore have also been advised to take extra precautions by observing hygiene due to the HFMD outbreak
Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said that although there were no reports of HMFD in Singapore yet, they should not take things for granted.
She also advised the parents of children studying in Singapore to bring their children to doctors should they show symptoms of HMFD, The Star reported.
Last week, health inspectors investigating the spread of HFMD identified the handlebars of supermarket trolleys as one of its main causes of the outbreak: