DDC advises public not to panic on MERS disease

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NONTHABURI, 21 June 2015 – The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has released its weekly publication, warning the public not to believe in rumors about the MERS disease and urged the people to call the 1422 hotline for factual information.

DDC’s Bureau of Risk Communication and Behaviour Development has issued the weekly publication that contains information on the measures employed to monitor and prevent the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) disease in Thailand.

According to the publication from 1 January – 19 June 2015, 38 potential risk individuals had been identified. The individuals had traveled from the Middle East and South Korea but all lab rests have shown negative results. The only confirmed MERS patient, a middle-eastern man, was discovered on 20 June 2015. Three of his relatives and 175 persons who had come in contact with the patient have been isolated to monitor for the MERS infection.

Lab tests have proven that the relatives of the patient and those in contact are not infected with MERS. However, they will continue to be monitored in a continuously and serious manner.

The public are advised against believing any rumors regarding the disease, while the Ministry of Public Health will continue to provide certified information to the public. The public are advised to continue their lives as normal, and to trust in the nation’s disease prevention system.

The publication claimed that Thai people in general are not at risk of being infected with MERS unless they have been traveling to countries where the MERS epidemic has been confirmed. Travelers from these risk countries should wear masks and immediately seek medical attention if any signs of fever, cough, sore throat, and runny nose occurs within 14 days after returning to Thailand.

The public are also urged to practice a healthy lifestyle by eating warm and cooked food, using serving spoons when handling food, washing their hands frequently, and to avoid contact with unwell patients. The public can call the DDC’s 1422 hotline for information should they have any questions on this matter.