News / Asia

    Thai Medical Authorities Concerned About Disease Outbreaks in Flood-Hit Areas

    Residents staying at a concrete block, part of construction for an elevated train system, pass the time, in a flooded area on the outskirts of Bangkok November 11, 2011.
    Residents staying at a concrete block, part of construction for an elevated train system, pass the time, in a flooded area on the outskirts of Bangkok November 11, 2011.
    Ron Corben

    Thai health authorities are on alert for outbreaks of disease as massive floods across the central plains show signs of receding. Medical specialists are especially concerned for communities inundated over several weeks, raising concerns of outbreaks of dengue fever, cholera and typhoid.

    The United Nations says the death toll from Thailand’s most severe floods in five decades now exceeds 530.

    But medical authorities say the government needs to remain vigilant to ensure the death toll does not rise further due to disease outbreaks.

    Dr. Wongwat Liulak, an epidemiologist with Bangkok’s health department, says people are starting to run out of food and water. He says the diseases that would be of the most concern would be diseases of the digestive system, such as acute diarrhea and food poisoning.

    Dr. Rekha Hanvesakul, a spokeswoman for BNH Hospital in Bangkok, says Thailand’s health system is facing major challenges in coping with the flood’s aftermath.

    “It’s definitely a big challenge because of the quantity or mass of water that’s coming through. If it’s one or two days people can manage to deal with this. [But] because the quantity of or mass of water is so huge and a lot of people are living under these conditions for long periods of time disease becomes a real issue,” she said.

    The Thai Public Health Ministry’s Department of Medical Sciences says a key concern is water-borne infections such as leptospirosis, due to water contaminated by animal urine. Other concerns include cholera and gastrointestinal diseases, such as typhoid. BNH also warns of poisonous snakes, scorpions, and centipedes pushed into people’s homes from the rising waters.

    Asian Disaster Preparedness Center public health emergencies head, Dr. Marilyn Go, says children and elderly are especially vulnerable.

    “The waterborne diseases are very common and acute diarrhea and e-coli or cholera will be the most common type as well as food poisoning and typhoid fever. The diarrhea can occur at anytime during the disaster,” she said.

    But Dr. Somsak Chunharas, secretary general of the National Health Foundation, says the Ministry of Public Health has surveillance teams monitoring for outbreaks of leptospirosis as well as diarrhea related infections.

    “I think the Ministry of Public Health has been doing quite a good job because they have set up a disease surveillance network and they have identified seven major diseases in the Thai surveillance system,” Dr. Chunharas said.

    So far city officials have not reported any outbreaks of cholera or leptospirosis.  The main concern has been influenza spreading in the crowded conditions in flood evacuation centers.  

    But medical practitioners see further problems as the water recedes. The Thai Senate this week pressed the government to begin water treatment in contaminated areas and take measures to prepare for possible post-flooding outbreaks. Other environmental groups warn against releasing toxic waters from inundated industrial estates without prior testing. 


    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora