Zika virus: 33 new cases in Thailand, officials step up health campaign

33 new cases of Zika virus were confirmed in the past days in Thailand, with the number of affected provinces going up with two more, Ministry of Public Health spokesman Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai told Reuters reporters in a news conference. The news came as authorities in the Kingdom have increased their efforts to screen social groups at risk from the infection, like pregnant women and young girls.

The health campaign has been extended and enlarged in the past month, as throngs of Thai people from all over the country are congregating to Bangkok to pay their respects and participate in ceremonies dedicated to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

“This is a period of movement with people coming to the capital from the provinces to take part in various activities. We have to remind them that Zika is a silent disease and some people won’t have symptoms,” added Mr. Suwannachai.

A city worker fumigates the area to control the spread of mosquitoes at a temple in Bangkok, Thailand, September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom/File Photo

Since the beginning of the year, close to 700 cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Thailand, but the state officials have agreed that the spread of the virus is manageable and close to control. The Kingdom also became the first country in South East Asia to confirm the connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly, a condition which affects newborns which subsequentially are born with smaller than usual heads.

Other countries in the region have experienced similar numbers, with Singapore confirming no less than 450 cases in 2016, a large number for the city-state. Myanmar has also confirmed their first case of Zika virus in October, when a foreign pregnant woman was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus.

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