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Zika Virus in Thailand Might Be Responsible for Cases of Microcephaly in Four Babies

 

Bangkok – There is an investigation going on at the moment in Thailand about possible cases of Zika-linked microcephaly. According to the public health minister Piyasakon Sakolsatayadorn, the government is investigating the suspected cases in three babies and a 36-week-old unborn baby. If proven to be right, these could be the first cases of microcephaly caused by Zika in this part of the continent.

Zika virus has been causing problems in South-east Asia, with news about cases caused by the mosquito-borne virus coming from a number of countries. When it comes to Thailand, with 349 confirmed Zika cases, this country is one of the most-affected in the whole of Asia.

The person in charge of dealing with Zika-virus in Thailand, Mr. Amnuay Gajeena, the general director of Disease Control Department, says that it is too early to connect the four microcephaly cases with Zika. Similar statement came from Thai public health minister, who added that no premature conclusions should be made as Zika is a sensitive subject. Still, researches done in the USA have shown that the virus can cause microcephaly. Last year, over 1,600 cases of microcephaly were confirmed to be caused by Zika virus in Brazil.

Speaking of the issue, microcephaly is a birth defect which manifests as a small head size. The problem can lead to huge problems in baby’s development. Piyasakon Sakolsatayadorn confirmed that three babies were diagnosed with this condition, as well as one unborn baby, but it is still unsure what the cause of it was.

The World Health Organization gave a statement about these cases, saying that if it was to be confirmed, these would be the first cases of Zika-linked microcephaly in South-east Asia.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Prevention

Certain health experts have argued that Thailand has not been taking the Zika threat seriously enough. Because of its thriving tourist industry, this country hasn’t been testing foreigners for this virus. Still, Thai officials dismiss these claims, saying that their response has been more than adequate. According to them, the real threat lies in the mosquito-born Zika.

When it comes to microcephaly, there are no tests that can determine this condition until the third semester of pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, apart from causing microcephaly, the virus is also responsible for causing a number of other syndromes, like Guillain-Barre syndrome, for example. This is a neurological issue that manifests by causing short-term paralysis in grownups.

The biggest problem with Zika virus is that it’s not easy to detect. In fact, over 80% of Zika-infected people have failed to notice the symptoms. This means that many pregnant women don’t know they have the virus in them. Another bad news is that even when the virus is discovered, there is no successful way of treating it yet, but scientists all over the world are working on the vaccine.

The World Health Organization recognizes two lineages of lineages of Zika virus – the African and the Asian. In fact, the virus was first discovered in Africa, in 1947. When it comes to South-east Asia, it is reported that Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines are the countries with new cases of Zika. In Singapore alone, there are 393 new cases of Zika virus since this August.

http://m.todayonline.com/world/asia/thailand-investigates-four-cases-suspected-zika-linked-microcephaly

 

 

 

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