May 15, 2009

Thailand facing mosquito virus outbreak

More than 15,000 people in southern Thailand have fallen ill with a mosquito virus known as Chikungunya disease, a disease control official says.

Disease Control Department head Somchai Chakrabhand said the virus spread by mosquitoes has infected 15,240 people in 15 of Thailand's southern provinces to date, The Bangkok Post reported Friday.

Despite the number of infected individuals, the Public Health Ministry remains confident the outbreak can be contained, Somchai added.

But the disease control official did recognize how a current shortage of health staff in Thailand could pose problems when dealing with outbreaks of diseases like Chikungunya or the H1N1 swine flu virus.

Thai officials are attempting to contain the mosquito virus through enhanced surveillance measures, as well as providing information to the public about the disease.

The Post said information will also be dispersed regarding how best to destroy suspected mosquito breeding grounds to limit any future spread of the disease.