BANGKOK – The number of hand, foot, and mouth disease patients in Thailand has increased to over 12,000, according to the Department of Disease Control.
Dr. Pornthep Siriwanarangsan, director-general of the disease control department, said this is an additional 1,200 cases in one week from 10,800 recorded last week.
The patients were reported in every province of Thailand but with higher numbers in the upper North and some northeastern provinces, Dr. Pornthep said.
He said the ministry of public health has instructed provincial health offices to immediately close affected schools where more than five patients were detected for at least one week, to stop the spread of the disease.
The problem is that some schools remained open, leading to a rise in the number of patients, according to the director-general.
Dr. Pornthep said he will inform the health minister on the matter next week and will propose the setup of a war room to monitor the disease and act as a disease control panel, authorized to order the immediate closure of any school with high numbers of cases.
Although no death from the hand, foot and mouth disease has been reported in the kingdom, Dr. Pornthep said the severe Enterovirus 71 D4, which has killed dozens of Cambodian children, the health ministry also detected in one in every 100 Thai patients.
He said the number tended to rise and almost 200 persons have reportedly suffered from the more severe strain.
The health ministry earlier ordered public health offices in all provinces to keep watch for the disease, particularly in provinces along the Thai-Cambodian border.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious disease which spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids or feces of infected persons
This is becoming very worrying, seems to be quickly spreading.