Thailand considers free Zika tests for all pregnant women

The Thai health ministry said on October 3rd that it is considering providing free-of-charge tests for all pregnant women for Zika, following the confirmation last week of its first detected cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size linked to Zika.

(VNF) - The Thai health ministry said on October 3rd that it is considering providing free-of-charge tests for all pregnant women for Zika, following the confirmation last week of its first detected cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size linked to Zika.

Sophon Mekthon, the health ministry’s permanent secretary, said the country checks pregnant women in Zika-affected areas only with about 1,000 pregnant women tested so far.

A Zika test costs THB2,000 (USD58) but repeat tests are often needed, he added.

Thailand considers free Zika tests for all pregnant women

A city worker fumigates the area to control the spread of mosquitoes at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand. (Source: Reuters)

Two cases of microcephaly confirmed by the country’s health ministry on September 30th are the first in Southeast Asia linked to Zika.

Currently, many countries in Southeast Asia reported Zika cases and Thailand recorded the highest infections with 349 cases, including 25 pregnant women.

Heath authorities in the region said they are stepping up monitoring, but there has been little testing.

Zika testing is free in Singapore for pregnant women with symptoms of the virus or with male partners who are Zika-positive. Pregnant women without symptoms get subsidized tests.

People with Zika virus disease often display symptoms, including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.

There is no vaccine or treatment and an estimated 80 per cent of people infected with Zika have no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.

The Zika virus is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Sexually transmission of the virus has been also reported. Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly in newborn babies or other health problems.

The connection between Zika and microcephaly was firstly discovered in Brazil last year./.

( Compiled by VNF )

Phiên bản di động