Thai authorities downplay Zika risk, worried by tourism impact

Health and city officials in Thailand downplayed risks from rising infections from the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is linked to serious birth defects, and expressed concern that disclosing information would damage its tourism industry. On September 9, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned of the increasing spread in Thailand of Zika, which can cause microcephaly in unborn children. Thailand is combating the risk by misting and spraying mosquito-infested areas, said Anuttarasakdi Ratchatatat, epidemiologist at the health ministry’s Bureau of Vector Borne Disease. It has not changed or updated its Zika prevention plan since Singapore, which has a more extensive prevention campaign, began reporting a spike in cases from late August.

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