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Health Ministry insists system ‘ready’ for Zika

Phnom Penh health workers collect mosquito larvae from a water container in February during a monitoring program for the Zika virus. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP
Phnom Penh health workers collect mosquito larvae from a water container in February during a monitoring program for the Zika virus. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP

Health Ministry insists system ‘ready’ for Zika

An official with the Ministry of Health, responding to a Pasteur Institute analysis that indicated the Kingdom is at high risk of a Zika outbreak in 2017, yesterday said Cambodia’s health service teams were ready to respond.

Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said Cambodia is employing an existing multi-source surveillance system that includes scanners at airports and key border checkpoints to detect Zika early on. Hospitals across the country have also been ordered to report any suspected cases.

“Our public health measures are in place to respond to an outbreak,” said Sovann, also the director of the ministry’s Department of Communicable Diseases. “We are ready to respond, in collaboration with Pasteur, the World Health Organization, [the US Centers for Disease Control] and other partners.”

The Pasteur Institute’s brief analysis, authored by researchers Dr Didier Fontenille and Dr Philippe Dussart, was posted on its website on October 19.

The Kingdom saw seven Zika cases from 2007 to 2010, but no recent cases have been reported, despite cases cropping up in Vietnam, Thailand and elsewhere in the region.

Multiple attempts to get Fontenille and Dussart to provide the basis for their conclusions over the last two days were unsuccessful.

Sovann, meanwhile, said he couldn’t provide an explanation himself. “We are the public health response officers and we follow advice from our experts to be ready,” he said.

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