SINGAPORE: Not more than five preschools have been closed due to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) each year over the past three years, Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said in Parliament on Monday (Feb 6).
There have also been no local cases in preschools with severe complications due to HFMD, which his ministry described as a generally mild disease that is endemic in Singapore.
Mr Tan said preventive measures to minimise the spread of HFMD in preschools are already in place, such as the regulatory requirement for preschools to conform to the Ministry of Health's (MOH) guidelines for the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
Centres with two or more suspected or confirmed HFMD cases are required to report the cases to the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and MOH. They are also required to implement enhanced measures to manage the outbreak of the disease as well as encouraged to conduct self-assessment on health and hygiene, he said.
Mr Tan noted that centres that experience a high number of sustained cases over a period of time may be required to close. According to MOH's website, centres may be closed if the transmission period is more than 24 days with more than 16 cases seen, or the transmission period is more than 24 days with an attack rate of more than 23 per cent.
The attack rate is calculated based on the number of HFMD cases divided by the total enrolment of the childcare or kindergarten, the website added.