Thailand Cited as ‘Red Alert’ Country for Zika Virus
BANGKOK – Thailand’s Department of Disease Control chief Dr Amnuay Gajeena said yesterday Thailand urgently need to help to control the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the Zika virus.
Provinces where people with the Zika virus are being treated were also instructed to immediately set up an emergency operations centre to |contain any outbreaks.
Dr.Amnuay told The Nation his office had asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to review available data and clarify the progress of the disease with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The ECDC website cited Thailand as a “red alert” country with increasing or widespread Zika virus transmissions.
The country has had the highest number of Zika patients in Southeast Asia within the last three months.
The rise of detected Zika infections reflected growing awareness, disease-monitoring measures, diagnosis and information disclosures meeting international standards, Amnuay said.
He said health officials continued to implement intensive measures to curb infections since the virus was declared a contagious disease under the 2105 Communicable Disease Act.
Cases Must be Reported to Government
The designation means that any detected cases must be reported to health authorities.
Thailand is following the World Health Organisation’s advice to fight the disease, Amnuay said, including implementing surveillance of epidemiology, vector conditions, newborn birth defects and related nervous system illnesses.
Amnuay said all state agencies were cooperating in control efforts, including the Interior Ministry, which ordered provincial officials to work with the Public Health Ministry and inform communities about how to eradicate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and larvae.
Provinces where Zika infections had been detected had been told to set up district and provincial-level emergency operations centres, he added.
The Zika virus causes fever, skin rashes, body aches and headaches, which normally clear up in one week.
Although infections do not pose major health risks for most people, the virus can pose serious problems for pregnant women as epidemiological evidence suggests a link to birth defects called microcephaly and other brain deformities in foetuses.
More information is available at the Disease Control Department hotline 1422.
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