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

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio