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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Feb 08, 2024  3 weeks, 1 day, 1 hour, 2 minutes ago

Thailand Medical Experts Warn That Zika Virus Continues To Be A Threat Especially In North-Eastern Regions

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Thailand Medical Experts Warn That Zika Virus Continues To Be A Threat Especially In North-Eastern Regions
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Feb 08, 2024  3 weeks, 1 day, 1 hour, 2 minutes ago
Thailand Medical: In recent months, medical experts in Thailand have issued a stark warning about the reemergence of the Zika virus, particularly in the northeastern region of the country. The alarming surge in cases, coupled with an increase in birth defects linked to the virus, has prompted public health authorities and Thailand Medical experts to heighten their vigilance and implement preventive measures. This news report delves into the recent spike in Zika cases, the associated health risks, and the efforts being undertaken to mitigate the threat.


The Zika Virus
 
Zika Virus Cases on the Rise in Northeast Thailand
Public health authorities in Nakhon Ratchasima province, part of the lower Northeast region, have been placed on high alert following the detection of 19 Zika virus cases since early January 2024. Among these cases, 14 were reported in Surin, and five in Nakhon Ratchasima, with a concerning majority of patients being under 14 years old. Region 9 Disease Control Office Director, Dr Taweechai Wisanuyothin, emphasized that Zika, transmitted by mosquitoes, shares similarities with other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya.
 
Symptoms and Risks Associated with Zika Virus
The Zika virus presents with symptoms including rashes, fever, headaches, and joint and muscle pains. While the illness is generally mild, pregnant women or those planning pregnancy are at heightened risk due to potential birth defects or developmental delays in infants. Dr Taweechai stressed the importance of obstetricians closely monitoring pregnant women infected with Zika, urging the public to maintain cleanliness in their surroundings to prevent mosquito breeding.
 
National and Global Impact of Zika Virus
Thailand, once again grappling with a surge in Zika cases, had previously witnessed over 750 infections across 36 provinces, with Chanthaburi, Phetchabun, and Trat experiencing the highest number of cases in 2023.
 
Shockingly, the number of cases had skyrocketed by almost 300 percent when compared to previous years. It was reported that at least 13 babies were born with birth defects.
https://ddc.moph.go.th/brc/news.php?news=39794&deptcode=
 
Local doctors and medical experts warn that Zika poses a severe threat to pregnant women and even tourists, as demonstrated by cases reported in the Netherlands and Germany as a result of tourist from these countries visiting Thailand and contracting the disease.
 
Comparisons with Dengue Fever and Global Trends.
The resurgence of Zika in Thailand aligns with a global uptick in mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever. It was highlighted that the cyclical nature of diseases transmitted by insects…often with periods of outbreaks followed by relative calm. Dengue fever, also spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has seen major outbreaks across the globe, inc luding in Thailand. The coexistence of Zika and dengue outbreaks poses significant challenges for public health authorities.
 
Historical Context and Global Surveillance
Zika has been a recurring threat since the 1960s, with a particularly concerning peak in 2016 when the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency. The virus, linked to microcephaly in infants, resulted in over 1.5 million infections in South America. Despite a subsequent decline in transmission, Zika remains a threat across continents, with 89 countries detecting cases. Thailand's robust surveillance system, tracking the virus through routine measures, provides a unique perspective on the evolving situation.
 
Pregnant Women at Heightened Risk
Dr Thaweechai Wisanuyothin, director of the Nakhon Ratchasima-based 9th Disease Control Office, issued a specific warning to pregnant women, urging them to be vigilant against mosquito bites. The Zika virus, transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, poses a significant risk of birth deformities, especially microcephaly, a condition where a baby's head is smaller than expected, leading to developmental delays and other health issues.
 
Conclusion
As Thailand grapples with a resurgence of the Zika virus, the potential impact on public health and the heightened risks for pregnant women underscore the urgency of comprehensive preventive measures. The cyclical nature of mosquito-borne diseases, coupled with a global increase in such cases, necessitates ongoing vigilance and international collaboration to effectively combat and mitigate the threat posed by the Zika virus. Public awareness, stringent mosquito control measures, and timely medical interventions are crucial in safeguarding communities against the potentially devastating consequences of Zika.
 
For the latest on Zika, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.

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