BANGKOK, July 21 – Thailand’s Public Health Ministry affirmed that hand, foot and mouth disease in the country is containable and less cases of the outbreak have been found here than in neighbouring countries.
Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri, Disease Control Department’s director-general Dr Porntep Siriwanarangsun, and Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health’s director Siraporn Sawasdivorn on Saturday spoke on the weekly televised programme “Yingluck Government Meets the People” regarding the pandemic situation.
Mr Witthaya said the prime minister assigned the Public Health Ministry to work proactively and integratedly with the Education and Interior Ministries to combat the disease, particularly at child care centres and nurseries.
Dr Pornthep said that no serious case of the disease leading to death has been found in the country, despite the fact that more patients have contracted the virus this year. He affirmed enterovirus 71 (EV-71), in the form of the hand, foot and mouth disease, has not been uncovered in a mutated form within the country.
However, patient figures in Thailand has reached almost 14,000 reported cases so far, which is relatively small compared to Singapore (20,000) and Vietnam (63,000), Dr Pornthep noted, adding that this was due to Thailand’s better preventive measures, including a hotline number 1422 that dispensed advice to the public –concerning health safety– 24 hours a day.
The Disease Control Department’s director-general added his organisation applied international disease control laws to set up check points at border crossings nationwide to monitor the outbreak along the borders. Child care centres along the borders were ordered to temporarily close down for safety.
Meanwhile, Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health’s director Siraporn said the outbreak can spread among adults if it is caused by a new virus or if adults are not immune to the disease. The Institute has clear measures to cope with the pandemic. Lifts are cleaned every two hours for safety reasons.
In a related report, the Disease Control Department’s director-general Dr Pornthep also informed Thai News Agency that around three serious cases have been found in Thailand, with one of them having already survived the critical point.
Public Health Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit said a war room to monitor the hand, foot and mouth disease has not been set up at the ministry, but a morning meeting is held daily for situation updates.