Pornthep said the Nopparat Hospital had sent the virus, found in the 2-year-old, for analysis at the Department of Medical Sciences.
Pornthep advised parents to seek hospital treatment if they suspected their child was infected at the earliest opportunity, otherwise it could be too late to fight it.
Department spokesman Dr Wattana Uwanit said officials are testing to determine whether or not the virus found in the body of the toddler had undergone a significant mutation that might cause it to become more viral.
He said EV 71 had first been detected long ago. Some people, particularly adults, might be immune to it.
Tak provincial governor Suriya Prasartbanthit said he has ordered every school to take extra precautions and to be vigilant after two students in the province were found to have contracted hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD).
The toddler who died at Nopparat had no symptoms of HFMD.
Supanant Kongchanhiran, a first grader, and her brother Jirapat Kongchanhiran are being treated in hospital for the disease. Sunet Rakkaew, director of Ban Pakamai, has advised parents not to bring their children to school if they have high fever and to take them to hospital immediately.
Dr Passakorn Chaiwanich, director of Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital, where the girl died, said yesterday that doctors found the deadly virus, responsible for the death of dozens of Cambodian children recently, in the Thai girl’s throat, but no symptoms had been recognised. He said the virus had attacked the victim’s lungs, brain and heart.
Permanent Secretary for Health Paijit Warachit had said on Thursday that the girl’s death that day was not caused by the HFMD contagion.
Passakorn said that the hospital and Public Health Ministry did not intend to conceal the truth, as the hospital’s initial check did not find the virus.
“Also, we found Enterovirus 71 four or five years ago that killed a patient. Normally, 10 per cent of people infected with this kind of virus succumb to the disease as it can spread to vital organs in the patients quickly,” he said.
However, the Public Health Ministry has not confirmed that she died from HFMD. Dr Paijit said the lab test result of the hospital showing the exact cause of the girl’s death would be handed to the ministry; then it would be considered by a committee of virus experts next week to finally conclude if she died from HFMD. The consideration would be based on epidemiology, clinical symptoms and the lab-test result.
In related news, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) officials are closely monitoring the HFMD outbreak. It has issued five measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including checking all children’s health before they enter nurseries, schools and amusement parks, and in shopping malls in “risky areas”.
It plans to separate patients suspected of being infected with HFMD for seven days, to clean toys, utensils and places, and to give out information on how to prevent the disease from spreading, and to treat HFMD patients according to the ministry’s guidelines.
In Kanchanaburi, four more children have been found with HFMD. So far, 338 people in that province have caught the disease.
Officials in Si Sa Ket’s Phu Sing district have strictly screened Cambodian children travelling through the Chong Sangam border crossing point with their parents to see if they have the disease.
With Cambodia having closed primary schools and kindergartens for two months to stop the spread of HFMD, more Cambodian children have accompanied their parents who cross the border to Thailand.
Authorities at the four border checkpoints in Sa Kaeo province have been checking Cambodian children. Any found with the flu have been refused entry into Thailand until a hospital in Cambodia issues a document guaranteeing that they have not got HFMD. They are also providing hand gel for all Cambodians to clean their hands before entering Thailand.
So far, the authorities have not found the Enterovirus 71 infection among any such children.
On Friday, the first day of Ramadan, a car bomb in Sungai Kolok district wounded eight people, while another roadside bomb in Ra Ngae district wounded seven; a Ra Ngae district’s rubber plantation storehouse was burned down; and a civilian was injured in a Jor Irong district teashop shooting.
Yesterday at 9am, a 5kg bomb exploded, aiming to hurt a six-soldier patrol on three motorcycles in Tambon Manang Tayor’s Ban Jood Daeng. It wounded Private Arisman Wayeng and Private Sangworawut Ngamprom, both 23.
Narathiwat Governor Apinan Suethanuwong said the car bomb culprits tried to park the vehicle at a bank but got chased off by guards, so they parked in front of the electrical appliance shop instead. He has had to beef up security at banks in 13 districts.
He said he asked female rangers to help police, soldiers and defence volunteers in manning checkpoints. He also asked for funds from the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre to demolish wooden homes in Ban Tha Reu in Reu So district, where a July 17 attack killed three people and wounded six others, and build concrete homes that better shield people.
Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 spokesman Colonel Pramote Phrom called for modern tools for checkpoints to boost efficiency in the combined security forces guarding seven community and economic areas in the region, as per PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s “Safety Zone” policy.
Pheu Thai Party spokesman Phrompong Nopparit condemned the car bomb as savage and cruel. He said the party would gather information in the Deep South to help the government, while Nakhon Si Thammarat Democrat MP Thepthai Senapong urged Yingluck to visit the Deep South to oversee and review the policy to see if it was on the right track and agencies were working efficiently.
Sungai Kolok hotel association head Saengthong Preechawuttidech said the car bomb caused Malaysian tourists to check out and go home and it would take a long time to restore their confidence, while Narathiwat Industrial Council chief advisor Pongsak Chutichaowakun said the car bomb aimed at, and succeeded in, hurting the city’s economy.
— Phuket Gazette Editors
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