THE SPREAD of Zika infections has prompted Malaysian authorities to consider pregnancy terminations for affected women while Bangkok reported more than 20 new infection cases mostly in the city’s Sathorn area.
Bernama said Malaysia’s health authority has been urged to form a ministerial-level medical bio-ethics advisory board to deal with the issue on termination of pregnancies for women infected by the Zika virus, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM) deputy president Dr Jamali Wagiman said.
In Asean countries, Singapore has reported a total of 318 locally transmitted Zika cases, while Thailand earlier reported a total of 97 cases nationwide. Malaysia said it has a total of four confirmed Zika cases in the country as of last Friday.
Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the public should not panic over the spread of Zika virus in Bangkok because there were only about 20 cases and infections were not fatal.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Public Health Ministry and local authorities to closely monitor the spread and create a better public understanding on the mosquito-borne disease to avoid panic.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Admin-istration (BMA) reported that there are now more than 20 Zika virus infection cases in several districts of the capital city with the Sathorn area having the most cases.
The infections included of one pregnant woman who recently gave birth to a healthy baby whose condition will be closely monitored for an extended period to ensure the baby was not affected by the virus, which can cause microcephaly.
According to BMA health authorities, pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the virus, which could seriously affect foetal development. As a result, BMA has trained personnel for rapid-response mobile units to tackle Zika outbreaks in the city while launching a public-education campaign to urge people to closely monitor and report potential infections in their neighbourboods.
Hospitals and healthcare clinics are equipped to cope with a potential outbreak, authorities said. In the event of infections, BMA authorities will put patients’ residences and workplaces in a 100-metre surveillance zone. In addition, potential breeding areas for mosquitoes will have to be eradicated within five days and affected areas controlled within 14 days. People who live or work in proximity to infected people will have their conditions monitored for at least 14 days, while pregnant women will have to follow strict precautionary guidelines to protect themselves and their unborn babies by avoiding mosquito bites.
BMA said its mobile units would ensure breeding areas of mosquitoes would be removed quickly to ensure that the virus is not spread further.