Outbreak closes schools in Thailand

Featured - July 20th, 2012

The Hand, Foot, and Mouth virus which recently plagued Cambodia is stirring up fear in neighboring Thailand.

About 14,000 HFMD cases – mostly in children under five years old – were reported, prompting Thailand to suspend classes in primary and secondary schools. No Thai deaths have been reported, showing a discrepancy in the fatalities between the two countries. Cambodia reported 55 deaths out of the 61 cases, Financial Times reports.

According to the World Health organization, Cambodia encountered the virus for the first time. Thailand, on the other hand, has learned from past outbreaks before and has in place an ‘extensive surveillance system’. WHO representative Dr. Brent Burkholder told FT, “They know how it progresses, and based on historical records, it tends to peak in the rainy season. This year, though, the outbreak appears to be higher than usual.” Thai health officials are confident that the outbreak is still controllable.

An outbreak killed 321 people in China during the second quarter of 2012, 50% more than last year. Chinese officials blamed the hot temperatures for the doubled figures.