KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Nationwide movement restrictions lasting nearly three months amid the Covid-19 outbreak have resulted in a significant decrease of several other infectious diseases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced today.
A comparison of infectious outbreaks from the first to the 22nd epidemiological week of 2019 and 2020 saw a drop of 58.3 per cent in measles cases, a 44.6 per cent decrease in hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) cases, and 44.4 per cent decline in chickenpox infections.
“The decline of these cases is a positive implication from the implementation of the MCO (Movement Control Order) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that was also assisted by high personal hygiene practices.
“However, during the Covid-19 outbreak, it is also feared that the rate of immunisation of babies and children have similarly declined. This may have resulted from parents’ concerns about bringing young children out from their homes to the clinic,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
MOH stressed the importance of child immunisation to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunisation services for babies and children are still continuing as usual in public health clinics.
Then-Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said last December that the immunisation rate for all vaccines nationwide has reached above 95 per cent — a rate required for herd immunity — following education campaigns, after the vaccination rate for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) previously dropped to below that percentage point in 2018.