Toddler’s death unrelated to hand, foot, mouth disease: Health Ministry


BANGKOK, July 19 – Thailand’s Public Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed that the cause of death of a two-year-old child at Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital in suburban Bangkok was unrelated to the ongoing hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) epidemic.

Permanent Secretary for Health Paichit Varachit explained that the child died from an encephalitis-related swelling of the brain and heart failure (acute myocarditis).  The official emphasised that the death was not caused by the HFMD contagion.  Confirmation on the cause of death will be released soon, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Paichit instructed the heads of provincial health offices nationwide via video conference to curb the spread of the contagion within six weeks and urged paediatricians to closely monitor the outbreak among the country’s children.

Hospitals must report clinical emergency situations to health-related agencies, the permanent secretary said, assigning provincial health offices to closely coordinate with kindergartens as well as nursery and childcare centres.

If more than 10 children contracting the hand, foot and mouth disease were found in each province, the health office must set up a monitoring centre to follow up and control the disease to prevent possible outbreak-related deaths as well.

Dr Paichit admitted that the spread of the contagion has reportedly been found in all regions of the country.

In a related development, the Education Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will jointly set up monitoring centre tomorrow in order to educate prevention measures, distribute disinfectants to schools.

The two ministries will ink a collaboration agreement to fight the ongoing outbreak as well.

The centre is intended to keep a close watch on the situation, combat the outbreak in Bangkok schools and speed up making the capital to be the HFMD-free zone as soon as possible, according to Charnwit Tapsuphan, acting on behalf of the secretary-general of the Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC).

Meanwhile, Bangkok Christian College (BCC), a private boys’ school in Silom area conducted a thorough cleaning to curb the spread of the virus-caused disease after nine primary students and two secondary students were shown to be infected.

BCC has suspended classes and plans to reopen Monday (July 23), deputy director Penchan Wattanamongkol said.

The school will screen all students as prevention measures Monday before resuming classes.