Thailand Confronted with Dengue and Measles Outbreaks
Thailand’s health ministry has confirmed 2 ongoing infectious disease outbreaks.
During September 2018, the Thailand Ministry of Public Health’s epidemiology bureau reported 2,149 measles cases.
Dr. Songkran Maichum, a Thailand public health physician, said ‘officials have reacted by accelerating the measles vaccination program.’
“The measles virus has continued to spread, especially in the areas where fewer children were vaccinated.”
“We found 341 people infected with measles from Sept. 1 to Oct. 9,” Dr. Maichum told Benar News.
He said ‘the main reasons for the fatalities were that the patients had not been brought to a hospital early enough, and not been vaccinated at an early age.’
The majority of these measles cases in Thailand were reported in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Chiang Mai, and Amnat Charoen provinces.
The measles virus is a highly contagious and infectious airborne disease that spreads easily through the coughs or sneezes of infected people and can lead to deadly complications, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Separately, as of October 29, 2018, Thailand confirmed the ongoing, and accelerating dengue virus outbreak has now reached 70,146 cases from 77 provinces.
And 126 dengue-related fatalities during 2018.
Thailand recorded its worst dengue epidemic in 1987, according to the health ministry, which saw more than 174,000 infections and 1,007 deaths that year.
The Thailand Ministry of Public Health said it has launched various dengue prevention tactics, but, is not including the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.
This decision is based on studies saying the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine should only be administered to individuals who have previously been confirmed to have had a specific type of dengue infection.
This is important news to Thailand’s millions of annual visitors.
During 2017, over 35 million international travelers visited Thailand, with over 30 percent of these people coming from China.
Approximately 1 million USA citizens visit Thailand each year.
Unfortunately, the CDC had not issued a Thailand Travel Alert as of October 30, 2018.
But, to alert USA citizens when visiting Thailand, the CDC did update its recommended vaccinations on March 12, 2018.
The CDC says to make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines including the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
For USA travelers, vaccines and travel medicines are available at certified pharmacies.
Schedule travel vaccine appointment at Vax-Before-Travel.
Additionally, the CDC says the Zika virus is a health risk in Thailand.
And, a Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
Therefore, the CDC says pregnant women should not travel to Thailand. Partners of pregnant women and couples planning pregnancy should know the possible risks to pregnancy and take preventive steps.
At this time, there is not a preventive vaccine available for the Zika virus.