Zika warning: Thailand named region’s ‘red alert’ country
Department of Disease Control chief Dr. Amnuay Gajeena on Sunday urged Thais to help control the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Provinces where Zika virus patients are being treated were also instructed to immediately set up emergency operations centres to contain any outbreaks.
Amnuay said his office had asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to re-check information and clarify the disease’s progress with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The ECDC website cited Thailand as a “red alert” country with increasing or widespread Zika virus transmission to the point of having the region’s highest number of patients within the last three months.
The rise of Zika infections actually reflected Thailand’s awareness, disease-monitoring measures, diagnosis and information disclosures that were up to international standards, Amnuay said.
Affirming that Thailand was continuously implementing intensive measures against the Zika virus, he said the virus was declared a contagious disease under the Communicable Disease Act 2015. This meant any cases must be reported to heath authorities.
Thailand is following international health regulations and observing the World Health Organization’s advice on the disease. This involves implementing epidemiology surveillance, vector surveillance, birth-defect newborn surveillance, and nervous system adverse event surveillance.
Amnuay said all sectors were cooperating in the control efforts. They included the Interior Ministry that had instructed provincial administrators to work with the Public Health Ministry and inform communities about how to eradicate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and larva. A province with Zika patients was also told to set up district- and provincial-level emergency operation centres to apply measures for the whole province, he said.
Amnuay said the Zika virus causes fever, skin rashes, body aches and headache, which normally clear up in a week. Although it wasn’t very serious for most people, this virus could pose serious problems for pregnant women as epidemiology evidence suggested its links to fetuses developing birth defects called microcephaly and other brain problems.
People can get more information from the Disease Control Department hotline 1422, Amnuay said.