Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry urges calm over Zika virus



Ministry urges calm over Zika virus

Larvae of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, at a laboratory at the El Salvador Ministry of Health earlier this month. AFP
Larvae of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, at a laboratory at the El Salvador Ministry of Health earlier this month. AFP

Ministry urges calm over Zika virus

Health Ministry officials yesterday sought to reassure the public that the risk of people becoming infected with the Zika virus in Cambodia is low.

The statements were made during a media briefing organised to inform the press about the country’s Zika situation in order “to avoid any confusion”, said Dr Ly Sovann, director of the Department of Communicable Disease Control and ministry spokesman.

Brazil has been ground zero for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, where an estimated 1.5 million people may have been affected.

An increase of birth defects has also been seen in areas hit by Zika, but there’s still no clear evidence that the virus is causing the microcephaly and other neurological issues.

Since 2010, Cambodia has only had one confirmed case, Sovann said. “Travel from the [affected] areas . . . is minimal,” he added.

Last month, officials at the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control confirmed a Zika case in the country by a man travelling from Thailand.

Officials in Taiwan also raised the travel notice level for South America and six countries in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, saying Cambodia was “at risk of transmission”.

Officials at US Embassy’s Centers for Disease Control office and the WHO could not be reached for comment.

No vaccines exist for Zika, which was first detected in people in 1953, said Deng Srey, deputy director of the communicable disease department – who nonetheless urged people not to panic.

“Zika disease is not a serious disease,” Srey said, adding that it often “cures itself”.

Srey went on to recommend getting rid of areas where mosquitos may breed and taking steps to avoid being bitten.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants