Thursday, June 15, 2006

HFM cases on the decline

Star: KUCHING: The hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease outbreak in Sarawak may be declared over by next week.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said there had been no dramatic increase in the number of new cases during and after the Gawai holidays (June 1-2), despite fears that new cases could spike when families return home to their villages and longhouses for the festival.
“The number of new cases is hovering between 30 and 50 daily, so we are not too worried now; and we’re happy that there was no peaking during Gawai,” he told a press conference at his office here yesterday.
“Hopefully, by next week, we will seek the advice of the Health Ministry to declare the outbreak over.”
Since the outbreak began in February, some 10,504 children were infected and more than 2,100 hospitalised.
The disease has claimed 10 lives so far, with the latest victim a six-year-old girl who died in Miri on May 6.
Dr Chan also said the state planned to convene a forum with world experts on HFM to learn how to better manage such outbreaks.

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