'No doubt' Cambodian boy died of HFMD
Rayong could be made disaster zoneAn investigation by the Epidemiology Bureau has concluded that a Cambodian boy who died in Rayong this week succumbed to hand, foot and mouth disease, Dr Prasert Thongcharoen said yesterday. The victim, aged two and a half years, became the second HFMD fatality in Thailand this year.
"This case is clearcut. We do not need to wait for a meeting of virologists to determine the cause of his death," Prasert said in his capacity as an adviser to the Disease Control Department.
Rayong public health chief Kris Palasut said separately, however, that the Medical Sciences Department was conducting a detailed lab test on the young boy's case.
"The results will be released within two weeks," he said as largescale public health campaigns started in his province.
HFMD can quickly spread among young children. Although the disease is not very dangerous, it can cause death in severe cases.
Prasert said the young Cambodian had lived in Rayong for quite a long time. He urged the public not to discriminate against Cambodians.
Kris said three children who were close to the boy were being closely monitored. Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon said the parents of these children had been given advice and the children tested to determine whether they had been infected.
In Rayong, 384 people have come down with HFMD this year.
"The number of HFMD cases is rising. If we are unable to control the outbreak of the disease, we may have to declare the province as a disaster area," he said.
In Bangkok, there have been at least 3,524 HMFD cases to date this year. "The number jumped from 3,345 cases on Thursday," Wongwat Liewlak said yesterday in his capacity as the head of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's Health Department.
Rajavinit Pathom School announced it would be closed from yesterday until MondayJuly 30 after two of its students came down with HFMD.
"There are also some other suspected cases," school director Sangrawee Wajawoot said.
In Kanchanaburi, Tessaban 2 School announced another temporary closure. The school closed for five days in the wake of an HFMD outbreak two months ago.
"This week, we have detected new cases of HFMD," school director Sermrit Samdaengdej said.
In Chanthaburi, eight schools and seven nurseries have been closed because of the outbreak of HFMD.
"This month, there are 96 new cases of HFMD. Of these, 92 [patients] are Thais, two are Cambodians and the rest are Laotians," provincial public health chief Dr Charat Wasutada said.
Disease Control Department deputy directorgeneral Dr Sirisak Warintarawat said his agency had campaigned for regular cleaning at gaming parlours, karaoke lounges, cinemas, escalators and elevators.
In the border province of Sa Kaew, public health officials strictly screened young Cambodians heading into Thailand.
The young visitors were asked to clean their hands with cleaning gel and undergo thermal scans.
A key symptom of HFMD is fever. People who appear to have developed HFMD symptoms are refused entry to Thailand.
In Cambodia, HFMD has claimed dozens of lives this year.