ASEAN nations to increase cooperation over Zika: Thai health ministry

Channel NewsAsia 19 Sep 16;

BANGKOK: Health ministers from countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to cooperate over efforts to combat Zika in the region, Thailand's health ministry announced on Monday (Sep 19).

All 10 ASEAN health ministers attended a teleconference meeting co-hosted by Thailand and Brunei's health ministries.

Thailand's health ministry said in a statement that ministers agreed to cooperate in five areas. These include increasing monitoring efforts in each member country, improving information exchange, and improving surveillance and countermeasures to new viral diseases. The ministers also agreed to cooperate on improved ways of mosquito control and the management of mosquito larvae breeding grounds.

Thailand's health minister, Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, also called for vigilance in the region, expressing concern over the possible link between Zika and disorders such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).

He added that it is important to prevent mass panic among citizens as this could end up hurting the economy.

- CNA/nc

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