Thailand remains vigilant on hand, foot and mouth disease


BANGKOK, July 16 – Cambodia’s threatened epidemic of hand-foot-mouth disease has passed its critical point and is now controllable, but Thailand remains on alert during its encounter with the epidemic, Bureau of Epidemiology director Dr Pasakorn Akarasewi said on Monday.

He noted the outbreak in the neighbouring country should decline within 45 days, while the illness has been found in Thailand among primary-school students.

About 13,000 children have been infected with the disease so far in Thailand, with the figure possibly reaching some 18,000 cases this year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), illness and death in the majority of cases in Cambodia has been due to a severe form of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) related to Enterovirus 71, which is seen in many countries worldwide.

The illness has mostly been found in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh and its vicinity, including along the Mekong River. The situation there is currently under WHO supervision, Dr Pasakorn said.

In Thailand, the outbreak has occurred mainly in the central and the northeastern areas, followed by the north and south, in nurseries and kindergarten schools. Most patients are children of 3-5 years old, bur the symptoms are also found in some children older than age 5.

The Epidemiology Bureau director said his organisation is speeding up measures for disease control and prevention. Clear guidance for setting up a provincial centre to monitor hand-foot-mouth disease will be given for further cooperation in the province.