Some preschools, childcare centres shut amid outbreak

Other News Materials 23 April 2008 06:22 (UTC +04:00)

Two preschools and five childcare centres have been told to temporarily shut down starting Thursday following outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). ( dpa )

Another seven preschools and six childcare centres in Singapore have been asked to voluntarily close for 10 days as the number of cases soars, health official said Wednesday.

Nearly 1,250 people caught the disease last week, a 25-per-cent jump over the preceding seven days, said Health Ministry data reported in The Straits Times. Of these, 16 were children who had to be hospitalized.

The new cases sent the total number afflicted to 7,560 since the beginning of the year. The last time schools were closed because of HFMD was in 2006.

The ailment causes ulcers, rashes and blisters.

The virus is transmitted through saliva, blister fluid and faeces. There is no vaccine.

Citing the re-emergence of the potentially deadly EV71 strain, a spokesman said that the Health Ministry was lowering its threshold for closing schools.

Officials said that closures will give schools and centres time to disinfect their toys and thoroughly clean their premises.