NIBONG TEBAL, Penang: Malaysia on Monday (Jul 30) confirmed its first fatality from hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) as the country grapples with an outbreak.
A 17-month-old boy died in Penang on Jun 6 after his condition worsened.
"The boy was admitted to a private hospital in Bayan Lepas, Penang on Jun 3 after experiencing flu, breathing difficulty and mouth ulcers but his condition deteriorated and he died three days after receiving treatment at the hospital," said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
Tests confirmed that the toddler died from a lung infection as a result of complications from Enterovirus 71 (EV71) which causes HFMD.
Dr Lee said that since January, 39,174 cases of HFMD have been recorded across Malaysia.
There were 2,894 cases in Penang, an increase of 116 per cent as compared to the same period last year, he said, adding that the ministry is stepping up efforts to contain the outbreak.
"Teachers have been asked to screen pupils before they enter their schools. The ministry is also making available disinfectants to clean classrooms, playing materials and have also asked shopping centres to disinfect trolleys and play pens,” said Dr Lee.
On Saturday, a two-and-a half-year-old boy from Sarawak died, believed to be due to HFMD. Authorities are awaiting test results.
The boy was reported to have come down with fever on Tuesday and developed rashes on his hands and feet and mouth ulcers the next day.
The disease mostly affects children below five years old, although adults can be infected as well.