Dr. Pornthep Sirinawarungsun, Director of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, said “We have informed the Public Health departments in all of the provinces to make sure that they pay strict attention to each school. If they discover that a minimum of five children are afflicted within the school, whether from kindergarten or pre-school, the school must be shut down immediately. The school will be ordered to remain closed for at least one week.”
“It has come to our attention that some schools wouldn’t shut down which allows the virus to spread to other children within the school and also outside. We will seek assistance from the Public Health Minister next week to find a better way to control this disease,” Dr. Pornthep added.
Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri stated, “I have been constantly informed about the HFM (hand-foot-mouth) virus. Though no deaths have been reported, we still need to find a way to control the situation. We are preparing to contact each of the provinces in Thailand, and in each a board of directors will be established to handle the situation locally. We will have the governor of each province serve as Chairman of the board. A meeting will be held every day where reports and assistance will be exchanged. We will also require the governor to order a school to be shut down if the disease occurs there.”
“Enterrovirus-71 (EV-71) type D4, found in Cambodia after killing many Cambodian children, has now been found in Thailand. EV-71 has killed one in every one hundred children afflicted. The number of afflicted in Cambodia has risen to 200 in total. We are very uncertain of how we will control this situation as children usually have a very low immune system and if they catch this virus it might immediately result in death. For this reason, I would like to warn all parents to take special care of their child and demand their school be shut down if any student contracts the HFM virus,” he added.
In the case of Sa Kaew province, the Director of Sa Kaew Temple School, Mr. Theppitak Metta, said “We have announced that the school will be closed from July 12-18 after seven of our students caught the virus. The students are from primary classes. Our school is currently being cleaned.”
On the Sa Kaew border which separates Thailand from Cambodia, the army has banned Cambodians entering Thailand with children younger than 10 years old. Children are also prohibited from entering and being around the border area. Hand disinfectant gel is also being provided for Cambodians entering Thailand.
Nakorn Si Tammarat is also one of the provinces where many children were afflicted and the schools were shut down immediately.
In the South of Thailand, from January 1st until June 30th, 1,401 children caught the HFM virus. No death has been reported. The provinces with the highest number of afflicted are Phuket, Surat Thani, Ranong, Krabi and Nakorn Ratchasima.
The Pattaya Times would like to warn parents to pay extra attention to their child at this critical time. If their child is sick with a cold or the flu, has a headache, body ache, or there is a wound or sore around their mouth, foot, or hand, the children should be immediately taken to hospital and the children’s school should be informed.
2. Doctor examines child for HFM symtoms.