According to Thailand’s Public Health Ministry, 110 persons have been infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus since January of this year, with the number of cases continuing to rise since May.
From January 1 to July 19, there were 110 documented cases of the Zika virus in 20 provinces, according to Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for public health. The month of June saw the most infections, with 30 reported.
The virus infected six pregnant women in five provinces in July, including two in Chanthaburi and one each in Phitsanulok, Rayong, Samut Songkhram, and Trat. Dr. Opas warned that the condition could increase the risk of miscarriage or microcephaly, a birth abnormality that causes kids to have smaller-than-average head sizes.
Between 2016 and 2022, health workers intensively monitored 241 pregnant women afflicted with Zika. Four of women miscarried, three had kids with microcephaly, and all tested positive for the Zika virus.
He also stated that officials have followed up on the development of 77 children for two years and discovered four cases with aberrant development.
Clinical observation of 2,187 neonates revealed three incidences of anomalies linked to Zika infections. For two years, officials monitored the development of four children, three of whom displayed developmental problems.
According to Dr. Opas, this year has seen an increase in Zika infections in pregnant women, and the disease has spread throughout the country, primarily in places where dengue fever epidemics have occurred.
He has directed provincial health offices to check individuals, particularly pregnant women, who exhibit at least one symptom like as rashes, fever, joint discomfort, or conjunctivitis (pink eye).
Health volunteers have been encouraged to encourage the public to assist in eliminating mosquito larvae rearing places in their localities.
About the Zika Virus in Thailand
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne viral infection that belongs to the Flaviviridae family, which includes other viruses like dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. It was first identified in a monkey in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947 and later in humans in 1952.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes are also responsible for transmitting other diseases like dengue and chikungunya. In addition to mosquito bites, the virus can also spread through sexual contact, blood transfusions, and from mother to fetus during pregnancy (congenital transmission).
Many people infected with the Zika virus may not show any symptoms at all or might only experience mild symptoms. However, common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The incubation period is usually a few days to a week.
While most individuals recover fully without complications, Zika virus infection can lead to more severe outcomes in certain cases. Of particular concern is the association between Zika infection during pregnancy and the development of serious birth defects such as microcephaly (a condition where babies are born with abnormally small heads) and other neurological abnormalities in the baby.
Preventing mosquito bites is the key to reducing the risk of Zika virus infection. This can be achieved through the use of mosquito repellents, wearing long-sleeved clothing and pants, and staying in places with screens or air conditioning. For pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant, it’s essential to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to Zika, particularly in regions where the virus is prevalent.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for Zika virus infection. Supportive care, such as rest, hydration, and over-the-counter pain relievers, is generally recommended to alleviate symptoms. If you suspect you have Zika virus infection, it’s essential to seek medical attention, especially if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.