Virologist Issues Warning of Zika Virus Outbreak in Bangkok Area

With the current outbreak of the potentially deadly Zika virus in Bangkok, residents received a warning on Wednesday from top virologist Professor Dr. Yong Poovorawan, urging them to safeguard against mosquito bites.

Dr. Yong, who is the head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, posted on Facebook stating numerous Zika cases, transmitted by mosquitoes, have been reported in Bangkok, including in temple areas.

While the doctor did not disclose specific figures for Zika cases in the capital, he emphasized the potential fatality of the infection and its capacity to cause birth defects.

Dr. Yong highlighted the risk for pregnant women, stating that those infected could give birth to babies with brain defects or unusually small heads.

In his post, he drew attention to the similarity in symptoms between the Zika virus and Dengue, clarifying that Zika tends to be less severe.

Dr. Yong pointed out that mosquitoes are the carriers of both the Zika and Dengue viruses, and he encouraged people to protect themselves by wearing light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and applying anti-mosquito spray to protect their skin.

The Zika virus, first widely recognized in 2015 for its link to serious birth defects in infants born to infected mothers, is primarily transmitted through the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Apart from transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy, Zika can also be spread through sexual contact, blood transfusion, and organ transplantation.

In most cases, symptoms become apparent within 3-7 days of infection, including fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes (conjunctivitis), headache, muscle pain, and fatigue for individuals experiencing them.