Deadly disease returns to Phuket

PHUKET: Burmese, Laotian, and Cambodian laborers have brought a deadly disease back to Thailand, the Phuket Provincial Health Office said yesterday at its monthly meeting. In March, two people in Phuket were infected with the contagious disease, which is called Meningo Cocemia. The first, an unidentified Burmese worker, transmitted the contagious disease to a Thai child living in the same area. Dr Boonriang Chuchaisangrat, chief of the Health Office, said that the disease “was one of the most dangerous in the old days, but the Thai government managed to eliminate it.” Meningo Cocemia was finally wiped out from the northeast region of Thailand about 20 years ago. It has not been found in Phuket for over 50 years. The disease is known in Thai as Garn Lang An, or “bent-back” disease, as the sufferer’s coughing makes him too weak to hold himself up straight. Infections are usually transmitted through the air, mainly through talking, sneezing and coughing. Dr Boonriang says it is easy to catch the disease in crowded places, such as prisons or temporary construction camps. Symptoms normally appear one or two weeks after infection, starting with a sore throat, bad cough and high fever. As the disease progresses, sufferers will feel cold and experience shivers, followed by convulsions. Chances of survival at this stage are only 50%, Dr Boonriang told the Gazette. Dr Boonriang also warned employers of Burmese and Cambodians to keep an eye on their workers. “When these workers have visitors from Ranong or across the border, it’s difficult to know whether or not they are carrying the disease, even if they look healthy.”

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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