Kuala Lumpur - Three Malaysian preschools situated in the eastern Sarawak state of Borneo have been asked to close for a 2 week period, following a hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) scare, state officials said.
Denying any major outbreak of the disease, state deputy chief minister, George Chan, said, 'Let me stress this, it is not an outbreak as we are taking the necessary measures. As the disease is endemic in nature, we want to prevent it from spreading. As of today, a total of 132 cases has been reported but is considered quite normal, and compared to last year in the same period; the number of cases is less. We hope the public, especially parents, will not hit the panic button as we are taking pro-active measures.'
The present scare brought back memories of two major outbreaks in the previous year, which had led to the closure of 25 kindergartens and preschools in the state.
The disease has no connection to foot-and-mouth disease, which afflicts cattle and sheep; officials said. It is infact a viral infection occurring in children and shows up as fever, mouth sores and rash, appearing on the hands and feet. Children are more vulnerable to the disease, though it can affect adults as well.