Currently, there is an outbreak of HFMD in Singapore, with 702 cases reported on the last week of March, bringing the total number this year to 4,423 cases. Last year, Singapore registered a record of 20,005 cases.
SINGAPORE is developing the world’s first diagnostic kit for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) that will help detect the virus in febrile children within 10 to 20 minutes.
This means that children with the highly contagious HFMD can be picked out and quarantined sooner, thus minimising the chances of their passing on the virus to their peers.
Beginning of this week, the children, in Keatkeat’s school, needed to queue up for temperature check before they could step into the class. This really eats into the time for learning.
Yesterday, a temperature record sheet was given. All parents were advised to record down their child’s temperature before he/she goes to school every morning. As expected, some parents just don’t follow instructions or they may have forgotten, so the queue still exist.
Out of 22 children in the class, only 3 remembered to take the temperature at home before coming to school, and Keatkeat is one of them. Yeah! So he gets to play while the rest are waiting for their temperature to be taken.
Currently, the diagnosis of HFMD — a common childhood disease — is symptomatic, which means that children are being screened for the virus only when they show up with a rash with blisters on their palms and soles, and mouth ulcers.
The HFMD test kit, however, will be able to detect the virus in a child who has fever, since the NUS medical school’s paediatric department has identified a marker in the viral protein that can be used in the kit.
EV71 has been associated with serious complications. In 2000 and 2001, EV71 killed more than 70 children in Asia, including seven in Singapore.
There are 6 students in Keatkeat’s class being quarantined at home already. Keeping my fingers crossed, may Keatkeat sail through this smoothly…..The scary part about this disease is its contagious before the blisters appear. So you never know who has it, till its too late.
The HFMD test kit will only be available in 3-4 years time….sigh…so for now, all we could do is make sure Keatkeat’s hands and feet are always washed thoroughly every-time he comes home from school, before he touch any toys…or little Binbin will be in danger too….