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What Singapore parents must know about the spike in Hand, Foot & Mouth diseases cases since Mar 2018

Updated: Nov 10, 2018

Recent increase in HFMD

Checks on hands for HFMD symptoms

There has been a recent spike in Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases in Singapore, with almost 1,000 new cases reported since March 2018, a Straits Times report said.

As a comparison, there have been 12,309 HFMD cases reported between Jan 1 and Apr 21, 2018, compared to 11,016 cases during the same time in 2017, the report added.


Seasonal HFMD Peak

The number of HFMD cases in recent weeks is consistent with seasonal incidence which typically peaks around March to May, a spokesman from the Ministry of Health told ST.

Infectious diseases specialist Leong Hoe Nam explained to ST:

"There are more cases, but it's just seasonal. It is the usual wax and wane. Herd immunity falls, and new cases come up again,"

added Dr Leong, who practises at Rophi Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.


These centers have active clusters

Two childcare centers and two kindergartens have active HFMD clusters, according to MOH's update on April 27, ST's report said:

Mindchamps said that as of the evening of Apr 27, all its children had recovered and an MOH inspector had cleared the center.


What is a HFMD cluster?

According to ST's report, a childcare centre or kindergarten is considered a cluster when it has more than 10 HFMD cases or an "attack rate" higher than 13 per cent, and a transmission period of more than 16 days.

The attack rate is to the proportion of children enrolled who have caught the disease.


How HFMD spreads

You can contract HFMD through direct contact with the nasal discharge, saliva, faeces and fluids from the rash of an infected person, ST's report said.

The incubation period is three to five days and kids below five years of age face the biggest risk.


Look out for these symptoms

1 of the symptoms of HFMD: Fever

Symptoms of HFMD include: fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers and rashes or small blisters on the palms of the hands, soles and buttocks.

If your kid has HFMD, alert their school or childcare center immediately, said ST. This way, the school can look out for potential symptoms in other children and take additional precautions.

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