Top Bangkok primary school closes due to hand, foot and mouth disease

BANGKOK, July 17- Bangkok’s top-rated Chulalongkorn University Demonstration Elementary School (Satit Chula School) suspended classes from today through Friday after a number of students were infected with hand, foot and mouth disease.

Asst Prof Chalermpol Daoruang, the school’s deputy director, said that the temporary closure came after an unspecified number of Grade 1 and 2 students were diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

Suspending classes is intended to help halt the spread of the contagious disease among students and school staff as well as to allow the infected children to rest and receive medical treatment.

The school has a total of 1,500 primary students in Grades 1-6 and will resume classes normally on Monday, Asst Prof Chalermpol said.

In a related development, Chulalongkorn Hospital clinical virology expert Yong Phuworawan said that the virus carriers of the hand, foot and mouth disease currently affecting Thailand are different from the past and that several types and strains of the virus have been identified.

The HFMD found in the country were commonly caused by Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackie virus A16 which are not severe virus carriers, Dr Yong explained.

Yet, the ongoing disease in the country was caused by Coxsackie Virus A6 and Enterovirus 71 C4, which are the same strains found in neighbouring Cambodia, as well as Enterovirus 71 B5.

In Thailand, treatment depends on patient symptoms. Some countries have more experience with and research regarding hand, foot and mouth disease, the virologist said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expressed concern over the spread of the disease in schools, and assigned the public health and education ministries to jointly respond to the threat. (MCOT online news)

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Over 12000 Thai’s affected by hand foot and mouth disease

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.
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