(CTN News) – In response to a concerning surge in Zika virus cases, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) has issued a stark warning to the public. Over the last month, 266 cases have been reported, underscoring the urgent need for preventative measures.
Particularly alarming is the risk that pregnant women face, as Zika infection during pregnancy can lead to the birth of babies with microcephaly—a condition characterized by underdeveloped brains.
Ideal Conditions During Monsoon Season
The ongoing monsoon season, marked by frequent rain, has created ideal breeding conditions for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Stagnant water in various containers, such as bird baths, has become a prime breeding ground for these mosquitoes. To counteract this, the DDC urgently advises the prompt removal of such water-holding vessels to mitigate the risk of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.
Immediate Action Required
Over the past four weeks, Zika cases have emerged in more than 24 provinces. Notably, Chanthaburi and Phetchabun have reported the highest number of cases, with 37 and 23 cases respectively. This geographic spread underscores the need for immediate and widespread action to curb the Zika virus’s propagation.
Risks for Pregnant Women
The potential consequences of Zika infection during pregnancy are severe. Infants born to infected mothers may suffer from microcephaly, a condition that leads to birth defects and delayed development.
In some cases, miscarriages can also result. Pregnant women exhibiting symptoms like fever, rash, red eyes, and joint pain should be vigilant and seek medical attention promptly, as these could indicate a Zika infection.
Effective Measures for Disease Prevention
The most effective way to thwart Zika, dengue fever and chikungunya—both transmitted by the Aedes mosquito—is to minimize mosquito bites. Community efforts should focus on eradicating mosquito breeding sites. This encompasses thoroughly removing water-containing containers, as larvae can mature into biting adult mosquitoes within 7-10 days.
The “Three Cleans” Approach
To combat these mosquito-borne diseases comprehensively, the DDC endorses the “three cleans” strategy:
- Clean House: Maintaining a clean living environment prevents mosquitoes from nesting.
- Clean Refuse: Proper disposal of trash and potential breeding sites like containers is crucial.
- Clean Water: Containers must be securely covered to prevent mosquito egg-laying. The introduction of fish to consume larvae is also advised.
By diligently following these steps, communities can significantly reduce the risk of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika transmission.
DDC Hotline for Information and Assistance
For further information and assistance, the DDC hotline is accessible at 1422. Staying informed and proactive is vital in the collective effort to combat the spread of these dangerous mosquito-borne diseases.
In conclusion, the recent surge in Zika virus cases demands immediate action to curtail its spread. Pregnant women, in particular, are at risk, making it essential to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and take preventive measures. The collaboration of communities and adherence to the “three cleans” approach can play a pivotal role in safeguarding public health.