Thailand to test pregnant women in Zika-prone areas

Pregnant women living in areas of Thailand prone to Zika outbreaks are to be tested for the virus, the Thai Health Ministry said on Monday.

The move comes after two newborns were diagnosed last Friday with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus, the first cases in South-East Asia.

Microcephaly is a severe birth defect where a baby's head is abnormally small. Although it can be caused by many factors, it has been linked with the Zika virus, which is spread primarily by mosquitoes.

There is currently no treatment available for microcephaly, according to doctor Tawee Chotpitayasunondh, a pediatrics specialist.

Tawee told dpa that only "supportive care" is available for babies suffering from microcephaly, adding that severity can vary in each case.

Health Ministry officials have urged the public to be vigilant of Culex mosquitoes, also known as common house mosquitoes, the main carrier of the Zika virus.

However, the ministry is also urging the public to remain calm, while downplaying the effects of the virus that was first discovered in the country since 2012.

Since January 2016, a total of 44,396 cases of insect-related diseases have led to 33 deaths, according to the Health Ministry. There have been 392 cases of Zika.

Last update: Mon, 03/10/2016 - 12:54
Author: 

More from World

Turkish police detain member of parliament from pro-Kurdish party

Turkish police detained on Thursday Huda Kaya, a member of parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party...

120 civilians killed in airstrikes on Iraqi town, MP says

Airstrikes on an Iraqi town held by the Islamic State extremist militia have killed 120 civilians, an Iraqi member...

Biggest clash in months kills 7 drug smugglers in northern Thailand

A clash between Thailand's border guards and armed drug smugglers in Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district killed seven on...

Monitor: Nearly 500 civilians killed in Aleppo in past month

Nearly 500 civilians have been killed in both government-controlled and rebel-held Aleppo since the middle of...

Report: Turkey starts operation against high-ranking Gulen followers

Turkish police began an operation Thursday to arrest a number of high-ranking followers of preacher Fethullah Gulen...