Thursday, October 6, 2016

Zika, Zika-related microcephaly, and legal Zika-linked abortions reaches Thailand

Since the beginning of the Zika virus outbreak in 2015, the spread of the Zika virus has been closely watched by governments and health agencies all across the world. However, despite efforts to contain the virus, the vector-borne disease has moved from South America to North America and, more recently, Asia.

Last Friday, Thailand reported two cases of babies with Zika-linked microcephaly- one born, and one due to be born soon. Today, another case of microencephaly was confirmed by ultrasound. While Thailand has recorded 400 cases of Zika virus since January, these are the first indications of microcephaly in babies born to Zika-infected women in Thailand. The spread of Zika in Asia has not been limited to Thailand; widespread transmission of the virus has also been seen in Singapore, and many other Southeast Asian countries are at risk. 

The cases of microcephaly have spurred lengthy deliberation among doctors in Thailand, who yesterday announced that pregnant women infected with Zika virus can legally undergo abortion. This makes Thailand the first Asian country to modify guidelines.


 -- Sharon Kam

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