The Thailand Ministry of Health is advising the public, particularly those that work around young children, about handwashing and personal hygiene in light of increased numbers of the contagious viral disease, hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Epidemiology, Thailand has seen 25083 HFMD cases through July 4 from all 77 provinces. One fatality has been reported.
The provinces hit the hardest include Chiengrai, Nan, Rayong, Lampoon and Chanthabur (mostly in the north and the east). More than 70 per cent of the patients are small children aged 1-3 years.
HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesions and rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. The oral lesions consist of rapidly-ulcerating vesicles on the buccal mucosa, tongue, palate and gums. The rash consists of papulovesicular lesions on the palms, fingers and soles, which generally persist for seven to 10 days, and maculopapular lesions on the buttocks.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses.
- Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States, but other coxsackieviruses have been associated with the illness.
- Enterovirus 71 has also been associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease and outbreaks of this disease.
EV-71 has been implicated in HFMD outbreaks in Southeast Asia over the several years. EV 71 is a non-polio enterovirus.
Complications associated with HFMD caused by the more pathogenic EV-71 strain include encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis, pulmonary edema or hemorrhage and myocarditis. Most deaths in HFMD occur as a result of pulmonary edema or hemorrhage.