HFMD cases in Singapore hit new high this year, EV71 strain worrying
HFMD cases in Singapore have hit a new high this year. As of 15 Aug 2018, there are ten childcare centres and kindergartens with active clusters of prolonged transmission...
HFMD cases in Singapore have hit a new high this year.
According to MOH's Weekly Infectious Disease Bulletin, 1,249 cases of HFMD were reported between July 29 and Aug 4, 2018. The numbers are the highest for a week this year. In 2017, only 868 cases were reported over the same period.
Meanwhile, as of 15 Aug 2018, these are the childcare centres and kindergartens with more than 10 HFMD cases or an attack rate* greater than 13%, and a transmission period of more than 16 days (prolonged transmission).
- Skool4kidz Campus @ Sengkang Riverside (Blk 3 Anchorvale Crescent S(544618))
- My First Skool at 2 Punggol Drive (Blk 2 Punggol Drive S(828803))
- My First Skool @ Blk 55 Toa Payoh Lorong 5 (Blk 55 #01 -160 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh S(310055))
- My First Skool @ 682B Edgedale Plains (Blk 682B #01 -739 Edgedale Plains S(822682))
- PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Queenstown Blk 365 Blk 365 (#01 -17 Queenstown Community Centre Commonwealth Avenue S(149732))
- PCF Sparkletots (Nee Soon South) (Blk 852 #01 -70 Yishun St 81 S(760852))
- Global Child Development Centre @ Tampines (Blk 870A #01 -10 Tampines Street 86 S(521870))
- MY World @ Ang Mo Kio (Blk 584 #01 -3107 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 S(560584))
- St James Church Kindergarten (Harding) (Blk 29 Harding Road S(249537))
- St Paul's Church Kindergarten (Blk 839 Upper Serangoon Road S(534682))
What is especially worrying is the slight increase in the proportion of the more dangerous Enterovirus 71 (EV71) strain.
There is no need to panic though, as most of the HFMD cases in Singapore are from the Coxsackievirus type A strain.
Recently, a 17-month-old toddler in Malaysia, died from HFMD. It was Enterovirus 71 (EV71), that caused complications during his lung infection. A two-year-old boy also died from an infection caused by the same strain.
Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital tells The Straits Times, "The EV71 strain is particularly nasty as it causes brain infection and affects the heart and lungs too.
"But it is also rarer, and in Singapore, it is still not so prevalent.
"They are very hardy and can stay and live on surfaces. But if we follow the precautions to isolate infected children and adopt wipe-down measures, we can reduce the chance of a spread.
"The Coxsackievirus type A strain is not as bad as the EV71, as it does not cause so much brain inflammation."
Meanwhile, MOH is monitoring the HFMD situation in Malaysia and is working with ECDA and the MOE to spread information on precautionary measures.
- Frequently wash hands with soap e.g. before eating and after going to the toilet.
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away into a bin immediately.
- Do not share food/drinks, eating utensils, toothbrushes or towels with others.
- Parents should consult a doctor early if their child has fever, mouth ulcers and rashes on the palms, soles or buttocks.
- Children with HFMD should remain at home until all the blisters have dried up. Avoid contact with other children until the child recovers. Disinfect toys and other objects contaminated by saliva or nasal fluids from infected children.
- The infected child should not be brought to any crowded places. Proper hygiene should also be practised at home so as to prevent transmission to other family members.