Health Minister Chua Soi Lek told reporters that Health officials have ordered immediate closure of 488 schools for two weeks, with a view to halt the spread of the disease.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that is pretty common in children, known to cause fever, mouth sores and a blistering rash, that appears usually on the hands and feet. Children seem to be vulnerable to HFMD, though in rare cases adults also contract it. HFMD has no connection to the foot-and-mouth disease that afflicts cattle, sheep and swine.
The HFMD statistics in Malaysia has it that in 2001, 13 cases of the disease was reported, while in 2005, four children died of the disease. In 1997, an outbreak had killed 13.