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Experts see no need to panic on rotavirus

Jan 09. 2018
Nusba Punnakanta
Nusba Punnakanta
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By The Nation

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HEALTH EXPERTS have downplayed public concerns about a reported outbreak of rotavirus.

“Rotavirus-related diarrhoea cases happen every year,” Prof Dr Yong Poovorawan, a virologist at Chulalongkorn University, said yesterday. 

Yong said infants and young children were most likely to get rotavirus, while adults were more likely to come down with diarrhoea because of norovirus. 

“If you want absolutely accurate test results as to which virus has caused the symptoms, you have to submit samples to a molecular biology lab, not just rely on test kits,” he said. 

 Rotavirus has become a big issue on social media since actress Nusba Punnakanta posted a picture of herself in a hospital bed to warn people about it. 

“There’s no medicine to cure this … so, it’s best to prevent the risk by frequently washing your hands,” the caption read. 

Yong said although there are no medicines to cure diarrhoea caused by the virus, it usually lasted three to five days. 

“I don’t understand why the public gets panicked,” he said. 

The Disease Control Department (DCD) yesterday released guidelines on how to avoid rotavirus-related diarrhoea. 

It recommended three measures: washing hands frequently; cleaning children’s utensils often; and not taking children to crowded places. 

According to the DCD, rotavirus-related symptoms can be more serious among children and the elderly. 

DCD deputy director-general Dr Asadang Ruay-ajin said that, in the past, rotavirus was found only among young children. “But in recent years, we have noticed that more adults have caught the virus,” he said. 

Asadang insisted that the recent development was not a cause for panic. “It’s just that you should know how to protect yourself from rotavirus risks. For example, it’s best to use a serving spoon and eat just-cooked hot food,” he said. 

Asadang said weather changes were also a factor behind the spread of the virus. 

He said some people could not adjust themselves to weather changes and thus became quite vulnerable to diseases. 

“To stay healthy, take enough rest and eat nutritious food. Avoid alcohol and smoking,” Asadang said. 

Yong said that, in the past, diarrhoea cases in Thailand usually occurred during summer because of bacteria. As sanitary standards in the country improved, bacteria-related diarrhoea cases had reduced overall, but cases had started occurring during winter. 


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