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.