KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Chronic complications arising from the hand, foot and mouth (HFMD) disease can lead to death, said the Health Ministry.
Its Disease Control Division public health specialist Dr Norita Shamsudin said although HFMD was a mild contagious disease, the risks were high if cases were not treated early.
“Viral infections, especially Enterovirus 71 (EV71) can cause complications like dehydration, brain inflammation, heart and lung failure, and ultimately death. That is what worries us the most because the majority of HFMD cases this year are caused by EV71,” she said.
Dr Norita said the disease could infect anyone regardless of age, although almost 90% of HFMD cases involved children below five years of age.
She added that a person who has had HFMD could still be infected again, depending on his body’s resistance.
“What is important is the preventive measures that must be taken by the parents and nursery operators to prevent the disease from spreading.
“Cleanliness must be stressed, and it is important that the child gets immediate treatment if there are signs of infection, and do not take them to public places,” she said.
HFMD is a viral disease which could easily spread, especially through the Coxsackie A16 and EV71 virus, through contact with saliva, blisters and faeces. – Bernama