BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Following in the steps of Malaysia, Brunei has quickly moved to prevent the spread of hand, foot and mouth viral disease and has ordered the closure of all primary and nursery schools after the first death due to the disease was reported on Friday.
The education ministry said that it was taking this precautionary measure after officials reported 32 cases and one death of a two-year-old boy this week. "The figure of reported cases ... is at a high level, but not high enough to be regarded as an outbreak," the ministry said in a statement. In the neighboring state of Sarawak, 3,300 cases with four deaths have been reported since January and officials have warned against traveling to that area. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a severe viral infection that affects mainly children and presents as fever, mouth sores and a blistering rash.