Abortion legal in some Zika cases, child health unit says

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Photo Credit: WHO/PAHO

Photo Credit: WHO/PAHO

October 06, 2016 01:00
By Puangchompoo Prasert
The Nation

Ministry takes tough line on breeding areas

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation




The Public Health Ministry has told local administrative bodies to punish people who neglect their properties and allow breeding grounds for the Zika-carrying Aedes mosquito.

They have been told fine offenders up to Bt5,000.

Public Health permanent secretary, Dr Sopon Mekthon, said the Public Health Act prohibited acts that could harm the health of others.

He said a 2002 ministerial regulation determined that Aedes mosquito-breeding grounds could impact negatively on the health of others.

He said local administrative bodies must issue their own regulations in line with these measures to control Aedes mosquitoes following cases of people contracting the Zika virus and dengue fever in the country. The Aedes mosquito also spreads dengue fever.

He said 250 local bodies in 11 provinces had issued regulations regarding the matter.

Health Ministry to work with Asean to fight spread of virus

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Red cross sets up screening measures for blood donors to protect supply.

PUBLIC HEALTH Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn will hold a teleconference with his Asean counterparts on the Zika virus concerns next week to improve regional cross-border cooperation.

Measures to be discussed will focus on technical assistance on verification of cases and readiness to cope with the spread of the virus.

Thailand has recorded 200 Zika cases since the start of the year, according to Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharernchai, deputy permanent secretary for public health, who said the country’s situation had stabilised over the past three weeks with new cases averaging 20 per week.

Following a teleconference with Thai public health officials nationwide, he said cases of Zika infections had appeared mostly in Bungkarn, Chantraburi, Petchabun and Chiang Mai while most of the 200 affected patients had recovered after one week.

Dr Opas Kankawinpong, deputy director-general of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, said Asean public health ministers would participate in next week’s teleconference to update each other on the situation and work together to boost each country’s ability to tackle the Zika virus.

Zika has been found in other Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines for some time.

Regarding the 30 reported cases of Zika virus infections in Bangkok, he said the public should not worry as patients were being closely monitored during a 28-day period and there had been no new cases detected.

Health authorities have focused on eradicating sources of mosquitoes, which also carry the more-deadly dengue fever virus. Dengue fever has claimed 31 lives in 38,000 infection cases since the start of the year.

Zika is also a particular threat to pregnant women as their unborn babies could be affected by the virus, resulting in microcephaly, an abnormal smallness of the head. So far, the public health ministry has reported 33 cases of Zika infections in pregnant women, including eight who gave birth to healthy babies.

In general, the public is urged to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. If they show signs of fever and other symptoms, they are advised to contact their local health authorities.

Meanwhile, the Thai Red Cross Society is implementing new measures to screen blood donors to prevent a Zika virus outbreak, a source at the society’s office in Bangkok said yesterday.

Red Cross officials will interview potential blood donors in detail and ask if they have visited a country that has had cases of Zika transmission and anyone who has will have to wait 28 days before making a blood donation, The Nation was told yesterday.

The ban also covers people diagnosed with Zika or those displaying Zika-like symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, headache or red eyes, the source said.

Potential blood donors who display such symptoms will only be able to give blood 28 days after the symptoms have completely cleared.

People who have had intercourse or been in close contact with people diagnosed with the disease, displaying the symptoms or visited countries that have had documented cases of Zika transmission will also have to wait 28 days from their last date of contact.

The agency requires donors to contact the Red Cross if they develop Zika-like symptoms within 14 days of their donation. Patients also should immediately alert the National Blood Centre, its regional offices or blood donation service points at hospitals.

The measures are based on Red Cross Society’s policy announcement in February, which followed the World Health Organisation’s interim guidelines to maintain a safe and adequate blood supply during Zika virus outbreaks.


Authorities urge calm as 20 cases detected in Bangkok

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File Photo

File Photo

THE SPREAD of Zika infections has prompted Malaysian authorities to consider pregnancy terminations for affected women while Bangkok reported more than 20 new infection cases mostly in the city’s Sathorn area.

Bernama said Malaysia’s health authority has been urged to form a ministerial-level medical bio-ethics advisory board to deal with the issue on termination of pregnancies for women infected by the Zika virus, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) deputy president Dr Jamali Wagiman said.

In Asean countries, Singapore has reported a total of 318 locally transmitted Zika cases, while Thailand earlier reported a total of 97 cases nationwide. Malaysia said it has a total of four confirmed Zika cases in the country as of last Friday.

Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the public should not panic over the spread of Zika virus in Bangkok because there were only about 20 cases and infections were not fatal.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Public Health Ministry and local authorities to closely monitor the spread and create a better public understanding on the mosquito-borne disease to avoid panic.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Admin-istration (BMA) reported that there are now more than 20 Zika virus infection cases in several districts of the capital city with the Sathorn area having the most cases.

The infections included of one pregnant woman who recently gave birth to a healthy baby whose condition will be closely monitored for an extended period to ensure the baby was not affected by the virus, which can cause microcephaly.

According to BMA health authorities, pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the virus, which could seriously affect foetal development. As a result, BMA has trained personnel for rapid-response mobile units to tackle Zika outbreaks in the city while launching a public-education campaign to urge people to closely monitor and report potential infections in their neighbourboods.

Hospitals and healthcare clinics are equipped to cope with a potential outbreak, authorities said. In the event of infections, BMA authorities will put patients’ residences and workplaces in a 100-metre surveillance zone. In addition, potential breeding areas for mosquitoes will have to be eradicated within five days and affected areas controlled within 14 days. People who live or work in proximity to infected people will have their conditions monitored for at least 14 days, while pregnant women will have to follow strict precautionary guidelines to protect themselves and their unborn babies by avoiding mosquito bites.

BMA said its mobile units would ensure breeding areas of mosquitoes would be removed quickly to ensure that the virus is not spread further.

Billions face growing Zika threat in Africa, Asia and Pacific

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Arriving passangers walk past a banner with writing 'Be ware mosquito spreads Zika' at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, 02 September 2016. According to media reports, Indonesia's health official is moni

Arriving passangers walk past a banner with writing ‘Be ware mosquito spreads Zika’ at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, outskirt of Jakarta, Indonesia, 02 September 2016. According to media reports, Indonesia’s health official is moni

RESEARCHERS have warned that at least 2.6 billion people, over a third of the global population, live in parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific where the Zika virus could gain a new foothold.

With 1.2 billion at risk in India alone, experts have identified the as-yet unaffected parts of the world that have the right climate and abundant mosquitoes for the virus to settle, spread and propagate an epidemic like the one besetting the Americas and Caribbean.

“According to our most conservative scenario, populations living within the geographical range for the Zika virus were highest in India (1.2 billion people), China (242 million), Indonesia (197 million) Nigeria (179 million), Pakistan (168 million), and Bangladesh (163 million),” said a study quoted by AFP.

This was a theoretical possibility, however.

Travel advisories have increased substantially for visits across Asia, the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands.

For Southeast Asia, the United States has issued a warning only for Singapore, but the UK considers Thailand high-risk and the Philippines and Indonesia as moderate risk.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says travel to Thailand and Indonesia is risky, but omits the Philippines.

Malaysia reported its first suspected case of Zika involving a woman believed to have become infected in neighbouring Singapore, where more than 150 infections have now been confirmed. Thailand has had about 100 cases since January.

Two more cases were reported in the northern province of Chiang Mai‘s San Sai district yesterday, bringing the number of infected people to nine.

The deputy chief of public health in Chiang Mai, Dr Waranyu Jamnongprasartporn, said the new cases were a Maejo University student living on the campus and an elderly person in Tambon Nong Han, who were diagnosed with the virus on Thursday.

Both areas had been sprayed with insecticide to destroy the breeding of Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes at both areas, he said.

A newly established emergency operations centre has set four target zones to spray insecticide six times and destroy larva breeding grounds.

They include the original 140-home zone where the three first patients were found, to be monitored by 14 teams; the Moo 4 zone, covering 40 homes to be monitored by four teams; the Moo 12 zone, covering 53 homes to be monitored by five teams; and the Maejo University dormitory where students were asked to destroy mosquito breeding grounds, Waranyu said.

Sansai district chief Adul Huaknil said the area had seven Zika cases from June to August and now reported two more cases on September 1.

He said health officials and volunteers were eradicating Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and larva and would continue for the 28 days it takes a mosquito to develop.

It is not known if immunity to the African Zika strain would offer protection against the Asian strain.

“If Zika immunity is widespread, introduced Zika will fizzle out fast,” Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University said in a comment on the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

“On the other hand, if it enters another unprotected population, we may see a repeat of what we have already seen in Brazil and other parts of Latin America.”

The research team used air travel data, maps of mosquito spread and climate conditions, and information on population density and health spending to draw up the epidemiological risk model.

Big jump in number of cases in Thailand

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THE number of detected Zika infections in Thailand has jumped significantly this year compared to recent years.

Between 2012 and 2015, an average of just five people were recorded as infected with the Zika virus each year. But in the first six months of this year, at least 97 people in Thailand have been diagnosed with the disease. And over the past week, new infections have been detected in Chiang Mai, Chanthaburi, Phetchabun and Bung Kan provinces.

Spread “under control”

Disease Control Department chief Dr Amnuay Gajeena, however, sought to allay concerns yesterday about the Zika threat in the country.

“We have implemented the strictest measures in controlling |the spread of the Zika virus,” he |said.

Amnuay added that Thailand had not seen the prolonged spread of the disease in any affected area and the number of patients was not overwhelming.

He was speaking in response to reports that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has described Thailand as a “red alert” country with increasing |or widespread Zika virus transmissions.

Amnuay yesterday said more Zika cases might have been detected because a better monitoring and diagnostic system had been established.

“Today, we can identify the |Zika virus in local labs. We don’t have to submit samples to foreign labs for test results anymore,” he said.

He urged agencies from all sectors to support the Public Health Ministry’s efforts to combat the virus.

“As soon as a Zika case is detected, we have to set up an emergency operations centre to control the spread at both the provincial and district levels,” he said.

While Zika usually causes a mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or a headache, it can be fatal in severe cases.

Recent scientific evidence has also linked the virus to microcephaly in foetuses and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

“Pregnant women must seek prenatal care. If they develop any suspicious symptoms, they must immediately tell doctors,” Amnuay said.

He said authorities had been monitoring 20 pregnant women in areas where Zika virus cases had been reported. Six have already given birth to healthy babies, he said.

Amnuay added that authorities were also looking into microcephaly cases in Thailand to determine |if there were links to Zika infections.

Relevant authorities, meanwhile, are pushing for the eradication of the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the vector of the virus.

“Because of mosquitoes, it’s quite hard to eradicate Zika virus once and for all,” Chiang Mai‘s public health chief Dr Paisal Thanyawinichkul said.

He said Chiang Mai province had detected its seventh patient in San Kamphaeng district – the same area where two cases were identified in June.

Chanthaburi Governor Viturach Srinam said eight people came down with Zika infections in the province this year but they had fully recovered already.

Thailand on ‘red alert’

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Country had most cases of any in Southeast Asia over last 3 months.

PEOPLE in Thailand urgently need to help to control the breeding of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the Zika virus, Department of Disease Control chief Dr Amnuay Gajeena said yesterday.

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.

Amnuay said 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 govt

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.