Health of­fi­cials: Zika plan to fo­cus on pub­lic aware­ness

The Myanmar Times - - News - My­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com MYINT KAY THI

THE Min­istry of Health and Sports and the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) will launch a Zika virus aware­ness pro­gram in the com­ing weeks, said WHO Myan­mar ad­viser U Myo Lwin.

The plan is in the works, he said, and de­tailed in­for­ma­tion will be re­leased af­ter a meet­ing sched­uled to be held in the next two weeks. “The meet­ing will dis­cuss how to treat sus­pected cases, how to trans­fer pa­tients to the hospi­tal, how to pre­pare the lab­o­ra­tory and how to con­trol mos­qui­toes,” he said. “Aware­ness is most im­por­tant.”

The virus, which can be spread through mos­qui­toes or sex­ual part­ners, typ­i­cally pro­duces mild symp­toms but can cause se­vere birth de­fects, in­clud­ing mi­cro­cephaly, if it spreads from a preg­nant mother to her fe­tal child.

The Yan­gon Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health has been build­ing a con­trol pro­gram for Aedes ae­gypti mos­qui­toes, which can carry both Zika virus and dengue fever, said Deputy Di­rec­tor Daw Khin Nan Lon. The depart­ment held a meet­ing about the virus at Yan­gon In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Septem­ber 10.

Traps to catch mos­qui­toes were set up at the air­port, she said at a sym­po­sium at the Myan­mar Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion on Septem­ber 10.

Two to seven days fol­low­ing the bite of a mos­quito car­ry­ing Zika, one in five peo­ple de­vel­ops symp­toms and a very small per­cent­age of those de­velop com­pli­ca­tions. Health of­fi­cials at the re­cent con­fer­ence said aware­ness ef­forts need to tar­get preg­nant women es­pe­cially.

“Most of the pa­tients will first visit their gen­eral prac­ti­tioner,” said Dr Yin Yin Soe, an ob­ste­tri­cian and gy­nae­col­ogy ex­pert from the Uni­ver­sity of Medicine-1. “If it is sus­pected that the pa­tient has the Zika virus, they need to be re­ferred to the hospi­tal quickly. The safest thing for preg­nant women and those ex­pect­ing to be­come preg­nant is to avoid go­ing abroad.”

At least two cases of Zika-in­fected Myan­mar na­tion­als abroad have been re­ported.

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