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14 Sep 2016

BY Jennifer Morris

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Zika on the rise in Thailand and Singapore?

Thailaind is remaining tight-lipped on the levels of Zika virus in the country, concerned talking about it could impact tourism.

Koh Tachai Thailand beach
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Zika virus on the rise in Thailand and Singapore?

On Friday the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned of the increasing spread in Thailand of Zika, Reuters reports.

 

Anuttarasakdi Ratchatatat, epidemiologist at the health ministry’s Bureau of Vector Borne Disease, said the country is tackling the risk by misting and spraying mosquito-infested areas.

 

But Reuters reports that Thailand has not updated its Zika prevention plan since Singapore began reporting a spike in cases from late August.

 

A total of 22 new cases were confirmed on Sunday in the upmarket Sathorn area of Bangkok, part of the city’s Central Business District, including a pregnant woman who later gave birth with no complications.

 

The health ministry on Monday urged people not to panic as it said the virus was not deadly or contagious and Anuttarasakdi added that Thailand did not want to deter tourists.

 

"The information on Zika is quite sensitive because if we say which province has infections then attention will turn on that province, and if that province is popular with tourists it will have an impact on tourism," he said.

 

"We don’t want people to be too alarmed."

 

Several countries in Southeast Asia have reported a rising number of Zika cases, but Thailand has one of the highest number in the region, with more than 100 confirmed since January.

 

A map showing countries with active local transmission of Zika from the ECDPC updated on Friday shows Thailand with "increasing or widespread transmission".

 

Singapore, where homes have been inspected and communities blanketed with information leaflets, reported its first locally infected Zika patient on August 27, and the number of reported infections has since grown to more than 300.

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