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Five govt agencies join in battle against HFMD outbreak

Five key government agencies have joined forces to contain the outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), says Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri, and expect to see the situation improve by next month.

After a meeting yesterday, the Education Ministry agreed to conduct a sixpoint campaign at primary schools across the country, while the Culture Ministry, which regulates Internet cafes, will oversee sanitary measures at all outlets.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will handle public health measures and an awareness campaign at the schools it runs in the capital, while the Public Health Ministry will supervise and implement overall health and medical operations.

Witthaya said the situation would be considered under control if there were a decrease in the number of HFMD patients by August, while there are no new infections.

"Normal adults should probably not contract HFMD, other than those with defective immunity [systems] or whose hygiene is lacking," he said.

Through local administrative bodies and provincial authorities under its supervision, the Interior Ministry will assist disease surveillance put in place by the Public Health Ministry and run by its healthcare volunteer networks.

Of 13,918 cases reported since January, 2,704 were in Bangkok, mostly in Ratchathewi, Saphan Sung and Bang Kapi districts, said Deputy Bangkok Governor Malinee Sukkhavejvorakij.

The Education Ministry's sixpoint campaign consists of running awareness campaigns in all schools, running initial surveillance operations, close coordination with the Public Health Ministry, meetings of schoolteachers to update the situation among themselves and to parents, stepbystep closure of classes and schools where HFMD outbreaks occur from seven to 10 days, and quarantine and sanitation at those schools during closure.


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