GEORGE TOWN: Penang National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) has urged teachers to promptly report cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at their schools. Its chairman Ng Weng Tutt said school management should not take the matter lightly as the disease, apart from being able to spread rapidly, could also lead to a major outbreak if not contained early. He said schools must also give priority to students' health and safety. “Once they noticed or told about students infected with HFMD, please contact the relevant authorities immediately. In this case, the nearby Health Department. “HFMD is an infectious disease, hence it is good that some of these schools are closed down for major clean up works," he said. HFMD is a contagious disease caused by viruses in particular Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71 (EV71) which spread by contact with saliva, blister fluid or faeces. The symptoms of infection include fever, rash (maculopapular and vesicles) in the palms, feet and ulcers in the mouth and tongue, as well as symptoms and signs of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Since January, a total of 1,679 HFMD cases have been reported in Penang.
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