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A health official checks the body temperature of passengers arriving from Singapore at Yogyakarta airport on Friday. Cambodian health officials are instituting similar measures at airports and border crossings. AFP
A health official checks the body temperature of passengers arriving from Singapore at Yogyakarta airport on Friday. Cambodian health officials are instituting similar measures at airports and border crossings. AFP

Health Ministry taking measures to counter Zika

The Ministry of Health is taking precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of Zika and is asking the public to do the same, as the virus has emerged in other Southeast Asian countries and could make a comeback in the Kingdom.

Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have reported recent Zika infections, sparking concern over further spread of the virus, which has been linked to neurological birth defects.

Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann yesterday said officials are monitoring the situation in nearby countries and have installed thermal scanners at the country’s two main airports and major land border crossings.

Cambodia as of yesterday had not reported any Zika cases, although Sovann said the country wasn’t immune.

“It is possible that it can happen again in Cambodia, so we are closely monitoring the situation,” Sovann, also director of the ministry’s Department of Communicable Disease Control, said yesterday.

From 2007 to 2010, Cambodia saw seven cases of Zika, according to a statement from the department last week.

The thermal scanners at Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport will help detect passengers infected with the virus, Sovann said.

The ministry has also placed a rapid response team and clinicians on alert, he added. “We have two labs with the capacity to test for Zika,” he said.

The ministry is also urging the public to report any suspected cases of Zika in their communities or in the workplace for further investigation by immediately dialling 115.

Airport officials and a WHO expert didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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