The southern resort island of Phuket is finally seeing a decrease in the recent viral diarrhea outbreak, although health officials are still unsure of its cause. The Noravirus has been running amok on the island over the past 2 weeks, putting more than 7,000 people in hospital with gastrointestinal-related symptoms.
Dr. Kittisak Aksornwong, inspector of the 11th Health Region says that the number of diarrhea cases began to rise on June 6, reaching a peak of 1,238 confirmed cases on June 9. However, since June 10, the number of patients has been gradually declining, with 808 cases, followed by 659 cases on June 12 and 376 cases on June 13.
Anecdotally, there has been thousands of additional cases where people stayed home and managed their symptoms.
According to Dr. Kittisak, the largest group affected by the outbreak was individuals aged 25-34 years old, accounting for 26.2% of all cases. This was followed by those aged 15-24 years (19.2%), 34-44 years (14.1%), 5-9 years (10.8%), and 10-14 years (10.44%).
Fortunately, most patients experienced mild symptoms, and only 13.3% of all cases required hospital admission. Dr. Kittisak also mentioned that approximately 75% of the patients were diagnosed with norovirus, while the remaining cases did not exhibit signs of any suspicious diseases.
“Although the situation is improving, ongoing investigations and surveillance of the disease are still being conducted.”
Dr. Koosak Kookiatkul, the chief of Phuket Health, says that samples from six ice factories and three major drinking water plants in the area were examined, but no evidence of suspicious diseases was found. In response, Dr. Koosak’s office issued a warning to local administrative organisations and schools, emphasising the importance of maintaining cleanliness in water and food containers to prevent further outbreaks.
Phuket-GO would recommend boiling drinking water, or water to make ice, for the time-being.