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Oddar Meanchey health officials fumigate roadside shrubs over the weekend in an attempt to exterminate mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus. Photo supplied
Oddar Meanchey health officials fumigate roadside shrubs over the weekend in an attempt to exterminate mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus. Photo supplied

Officials ramping up efforts to prevent Zika

With Zika cases on the rise in neighbouring countries, Cambodian health officials have ordered provinces with a high mosquito density, and those close to the Thai border, to spray pesticides to eliminate Aedes mosquitoes potentially carrying the virus.

As of yesterday, no Zika cases – which have been linked to neurological birth defects – had been reported in the Kingdom, according to Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann. However, with cases cropping up in Thailand and Singapore, provinces need to spray based on their individual risk assessments for mosquito density.

“All provinces need to prevent and respond to Zika and dengue outbreaks,” he added.

Po Rithy, director of the technical office at the Phnom Penh Municipal Health Department, said as part of an awareness campaign, the capital has prioritised 32 communes among the 12 districts for spraying. Two communes – Chbar Ampov I and Choam Chao – have already been sprayed.

Oddar Meanchey officials have fumigated at the O’Smach Border Checkpoint and in O’Smach commune, said Dr Klork Huot, director of the provincial health department. Authorities have also sprayed at markets and along roads within Samroang district.

“It’s the rainy season; some areas face flooding and overgrown grass, where mosquitoes [breed],” he said. “Aside from spraying mosquito pesticide, our team will educate people to clear grass.”

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

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