PM Calls for Zika Prevention
Prime Minister Hun Sen called on citizens and the Health Ministry to be vigilant in stopping the Zika virus from spreading in Cambodia during a speech in Phnom Penh yesterday.
While inaugurating the Sunrise Japan Hospital in Chroy Changvar district, Mr. Hun Sen said recent cases of the virus in Thailand and Singapore meant that Cambodia had to make more of an effort to protect its citizens and prepare them for any outbreaks.
“This vicious disease has spread from Latin America to our neighboring countries,” he said. “So I requested high attention on this issue and for the [Health Ministry] not to let this disease spread through the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
Regional strains of the Zika virus have long been endemic to Southeast Asia and are not linked to the birth defects being reported in South America, but the Health Ministry is advising that anyone suffering from symptoms – which are similar to dengue, including fever and rashes – should get a blood test.
Since early 2016, fresh cases of Zika have been reported all over the region. Singapore saw its first case of the Zika virus in late August and that has quickly ballooned to more than 300 cases.
In neighboring Thailand, 200 cases were reported between January and June, amounting to 20 new infections each week.
The current outbreak in the Americas has led to numerous reports of microcephaly and other brain abnormalities in babies. Cases have been reported across South and Central America, as well as the US.
The Health Ministry has installed thermo-health scanning machines at major border crossings and airports.
The contagious Zika virus is spread through the bite of the Aedes mosquito, the same species responsible for the spread of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The symptoms of Zika can range from mild to flu-like and can last anywhere between two and seven days.
Those afflicted commonly have a fever or rash, red, itchy eyes, muscle pain and fatigue, if they show any symptoms at all.
Director of the communicable disease control department Dr. Ly Sovann said his officials were also sending out information on the Zika virus to every province and using a variety of sprays to kill mosquitoes.
“We are not only tracking people, but mosquitoes,” he said.
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