PETALING JAYA: Authorities have recorded 35,886 cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), said Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. "Nationwide, 469 premises have been closed, including 217 childcare centres, 223 kindergartens, several classes from 27 schools and one school each in Penang and Pahang." "The ministry held an inter-agency meeting on July 19 involving those in charge of monitoring nurseries, preschools and primary schools to discuss strategies for prevention and control of HFMD," he said in a statement today. HFMD is a contagious disease caused by viruses, in particular the Coxsackie A16 and Enterovirus 71, which are spread via contact with saliva, blisters or faeces. He said between July 15 and 21, 3,852 cases were reported while between July 8 and 14, 2,346 cases were reported. Noor Hisham said it was decided at the meeting that further steps would be taken to improve the monitoring at entrances, of nurseries, kindergartens, preschools and primary schools to screen pupils. He said stepping up prevention procedures would include increasing the level cleanliness inside and outside the premises and disinfection of children's toys on a daily basis after the school sessions end. "Children will be taught the correct methods to wash their hands. They will also need to wash their hands after using the toilet, before and after eating and emphasis will also be placed on proper disposal of rubbish," Noor Hisham said.