Monday, October 6, 2008


Seven kindergarten children given a clean bill of health


The seven kindergarten children, who had been with the four-year-old boy before he died of the suspected Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) last Tuesday, have been found to be healthy. A source from the Health Office here said yesterday that after the death of the first-year kindergarten boy, ‘they started screening the seven in their homes for three consecutive days, beginning last Wednesday. “They have not been infected,” confirmed the officer, saying that when school reopened yesterday, they also went to their kindergarten to screen all the children. They also found them healthy and free from the infection. The officer said after the boy died of the suspect }{FMD last week, they had traced his contacts and this led them to the seven, who had been in a home tuition with the infected boy. The officer said their teams also went to the kindergarten of the four- year-old boy yesterday and found all the students “sound and well”. Following that, he said they proceeded to the nursery next to the kindergarten and found the children there all healthy as well. He said from the screening of the children in these three premises, they noticed some parents had stopped sending their children there. He understood their concern, saying they were now all aware of the precautionary measures to be taken in view of HFMD. “I am happy that they understand home quarantine is the best way to contain the spread of the viral infection,” he said. He said in the kindergarten of the four-year-old boy yesterday, 50 of out 248 students were absent. “In the nursery next to it, 14 out of 51 kids did not turn up while in the kindergarten of the seven children, there were also absentees.” The officer was pleased the parents this time around did not panic. “They calmly face the situation while stepping up the necessary precautionary measures. They cooperate well with the authorities in the kindergartens and the nurseries as well,” he said. In their all-out actions, the health teams had found that some kindergartens had already disinfected their premises on their own initiative. He praised these operators, saying what they had done would instill a sense of security and confidence from the parents. “Keep it up. We hope they will do so even during normal time,” he said. Meanwhile, at the press conference last Sunday afternoon at the Sibu Hospital, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri George Chan praised the health officers here for a job well done in dealing with the HFMD situation. He described them as “experts who were well trained and experienced”. Chan noted that through the media highlighted the death of the four- year-old boy since last week, the public had become more aware of the situation. He said more parents were taking their children to the hospital for screening. Last Sunday noon, two children were admitted after found with symptoms similar to HFMD. One is a one-year-old infant who was transferred from Saratok and the other was a seven-month old from Sarikei. Last Sunday night, parents here brought three children to the hospital for screening - a one-year-old girl, two-year-old boy and a three-year- old boy. The three had fever but without the mouth ulcers nor rashes on their palms and soles. The hospital staff dispensed medication to their parents after checking on the children before discharging them. They found the children free from the infection.