Set up zika screening in Myanmar

MYANMAR : is planning to increase Zika surveillance after the virus was detected in several neighbouring countries this week, a health official said. The mosquito-borne disease, which has been linked to fatal birth defects, has not been detected in Myanmar.
Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia have all confirmed recent cases of Zika, with Singapore battling an outbreak that grew to include 115 patients by August 31, according to that country’s Ministry of Health.

Several countries, including the United States, have warned pregnant women to avoid travelling to Singapore following the outbreak.

Myanmar health officials say they have been taking precautionary steps against Zika – including spraying for mosquitoes and conducting airport screenings – since the World Health Organization put out an alert on February 1 warning that the Zika virus is a public health threat of global proportion.

Dr Than Win, deputy director general of the Department of Public Health, said in the wake of the nearby outbreak, Myanmar will accelerate prevention and protection procedures. He added that no case has been confirmed in Myanmar.

“Prevention is the best measure,” he said. “The department has been taking two kinds of procedures for Zika: a prevention and protection process, and a surveillance process. The mosquito control program we have been implementing is valid for both the Zika virus and dengue fever.”

Zika is carried by the same type of mosquito – the Aedes aegypti – as carries the dengue, yellow fever, chikyngunya, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile viruses. The Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually and by blood, however. Symptoms of the Zika virus infection include muscle pains, fever, headache, pain behind the eyes and vomiting.

The disease has also been linked to complications in babies, such as microcephaly, where the fetus’ brain does not fully develop, and the rare paralysis-inducing auto-immune disease Guillian-Barré Syndrome.

“Awareness is also important. The public should be aware of the infection, and take care to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, and keep their homes clear of mosquito breeding environments,” Dr Than Win said. “If a patient suspects they may have the symptoms of Zika, they should go quickly to a hospital or clinic.”

Dr Thandar Lwin, director of disease control at the Public Health Department, said since there is no vaccine to prevent against Zika, the best prevention is to fight the vector: mosquitoes.

Although the Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947, and India found that a significant number of people had been exposed to it in 1952, few cases were reported until an isolated outbreak in 2007 in Micronesia, and then another, larger outbreak in Polynesia in 2013. Brazil has reported the largest number of cases, with more than 1 million infections in 2015.

Source @ Set up zika screening in Myanmar

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