Surge in Singapore Flu Cases: Over 5,000 Affected in Indonesia, Banten Tops the List

Singapore Flu
Surge in Singapore Flu Cases: Over 5,000 Affected in Indonesia, Banten Tops the List (weedezign_photo - envato elements)

The number of cases of Singapore Flu in Indonesia has risen, surpassing 5,000 cases by the 11th week of 2024, with Banten province reporting the highest incidence. Is this flu becoming a serious concern?

According to data from the Indonesian Ministry of Health’s Early Warning and Response System, as of the 11th week of 2024, there have been 5,461 reported cases of Singapore Flu in Indonesia. The Health Department of Banten province recorded 738 of these cases.

In Depok, 45 suspected cases of Singapore Flu were reported between January and March 2024, with 10 patients receiving treatment at a local hospital.

Professor Dr. Erlina Burhan, Chairperson of the Covid-19 Task Force and Member of the Infectious Disease Control Division of the Indonesian Medical Association, explained that Singapore Flu, also known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), is caused by the Coxsackievirus A16 and can affect both children and adults.

“This virus can affect individuals of all ages, although it’s more commonly observed in children. Typically, it affects children around 10 years old, but adults can also be affected,” Prof. Erlina stated during a virtual press conference.

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She elaborated that Singapore Flu usually presents with common symptoms like fever, sore throat, and cough, but it can be distinguished by specific symptoms such as blisters on the hands and feet, which may develop into ulcers.

“In Singapore Flu, distinctive symptoms include the presence of blisters on the hands and feet, which, when ruptured, can lead to ulcers. These blisters contain fluid and can also appear in the mouth, causing mouth sores, particularly troublesome for children,” she explained.

Aside from Coxsackievirus A16, Prof. Erlina noted that Singapore Flu can also be caused by Coxsackievirus A6, which can result in more severe symptoms. Enterovirus 71 is another rare cause of this flu.

Prof. Erlina emphasized that children can serve as a source of transmission for the virus responsible for Singapore Flu, especially in conditions of poor socioeconomic status, which may hasten the spread of the disease among toddlers and children.

“For infected children who show no symptoms or have mild symptoms, indicating no blisters, sore throat, or runny nose, the virus is expelled through feces,” Prof. Erlina explained.

She added that the virus can spread from feces, particularly if hands are not properly washed after handling them. Transmission can occur when contaminated hands touch the mouth during eating.

Moreover, Prof. Erlina highlighted that the virus responsible for Singapore Flu can be found on various surfaces, in wastewater, soil, raw vegetables, and seafood.

Transmission of Singapore Flu can also occur through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, through respiratory droplets produced during coughing, sneezing, or talking, direct contact with wounds or body fluids of infected individuals, and poor sanitation practices.