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Experts to examine cause of two-year-old girl's death

Tuesday, Jul 24, 2012
The Nation/Asia News Network

THAILAND - Virologists and experts will today determine whether a 21/2-year-old girl died last week from hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) or any other illness, according to Deputy Public Health Minister Surawit Khonsomboon.

Enterovirus 71, a strain of HFMD, was found in the girl's throat but not in her spinal cord, Surawit pointed out yesterday.

"So, we have to wait for experts to conclude whether she died of HFMD," the deputy public health minister said.

He said the girl caught the B5 type of Enterovirus 71, which was usually not very dangerous.

Virologists and experts will today hold a meeting to determine the exact cause of the girl's death.

This year already, HFMD has infected more than 13,000 people in Thailand and the disease has killed dozens of children in Cambodia.

The commonlyfound strains of HFMD are relatively not very dangerous. To date, there has been just one case of suspected HFMD death in Thailand.

"What everyone should learn from this case is that patients should be brought to doctors before their condition becomes really serious," Disease Control Department (DCD) directorgeneral Dr Pornthep Siriwanarangsan said.

Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Paijit Warachit said if parents found their children with high fever and vomiting for two days, they should take them to doctors as quickly as possible.

He said authorities were now trying to minimise the danger of HFMD deaths.

"Key measures are about cleaning facilities used by young children and separating ill children from others," he said, "We have to monitor lab test results too".

Paijit yesterday urged all parties to take action in line with his ministry's recommended measures so as to control the spread of HFMD.

At Chulalongkorn University's primary demonstration school, three more students were found with HFMD yesterday.

The school had been closed from July 17 to Sunday after HFMD cases were detected among its students.

The school's director, Assoc Prof Supranee Jiranarong, said the three students had been sent home and ordered to take days off.

"Throughout this week, doctors will give a checkup to all primary students before they go to their classes. It's a measure to prevent the spread of HFMD," she said.

Now, the school has begun cleaning its facilities twice a day.

Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Science is also giving 300 litres of handcleaning gel to the school to help it battle the HFMD outbreak.

Srinakharinwirot University's primary demonstration school will be closed from tomorrow to July 27 as disinfecting operations begin.

"It's a precaution. We have not yet received official reports that any of our students have fallen ill with HFMD," the school's director Sukumal Kasemsuk said.

She said the university's vicepresident for human resources had requested the school's temporary closedown so as to prevent the spread of HFMD.

HFMD is a contagious disease which in severe cases can cause death. HFMD cases have been found in many provinces, not just Bangkok.

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