Tag Archive | Thailand

MERS Virus Strikes Thailand

MERS Virus Alert

Fears of contagion as authorities confirm Omani businessman is first detected case
One of Thailand’s leading hospitals, known for treating medical tourists, said on Friday it had received the country’s first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as authorities said it had taken nearly four days to confirm the illness.
Thailand said on Thursday a 75-year-old businessman from Oman, who had travelled to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition, had tested positive for MERS.
The announcement came just as an outbreak in South Korea that began last month and has infected 166 people, killing 24 of them, appeared to be levelling off.
The high-end Bumrungrad Hospital, run by Thailand’s second-largest hospital operator, identified the first Mers case. The hospital in central Bangkok treats over a million patients a year, about half of them foreigners.
“The patient came to us tired, coughing … there was no fever,” a doctor from the private hospital told a televised news conference. “So we X-rayed his chest … we found that he could have two things, a heart condition or the MERS virus.”
Tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the Thai economy and medical tourists make up more than 10 per cent of visitors, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. About a third of those medical tourists come from the Middle East.
The hospital said 58 staff had been quarantined, but all other operations were continuing as normal.
The infected man was moved to Bangkok’s Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute on Thursday. Staff there were seen wearing and giving out masks to visitors, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. Health warnings were posted in front of the building’s entrance.
Two South Korean hospitals were locked down and another completely shut due to Mers, while the prestigious Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, where most infections occurred, stopped taking new patients during the outbreak.
The Thai case will compound fears in Asia of a repeat of a 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which began in China and killed about 800 people globally.
MERS was first identified in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and the majority of cases have been in the Middle East.
Isolated cases have cropped up in Asia before South Korea’s outbreak began last month, and Thailand is the fourth Asian country to register a case.
China has had one case recently, that of a South Korean man who travelled to China via Hong Kong despite authorities suggesting he stay in voluntary quarantine at home. The Philippines has also identified a case this year.
Concern for victim’s sons
The infected man arrived in the Thai capital on Monday on an Oman Air flight for medical treatment for a heart ailment at a private hospital.
“It took about four days to diagnose this case and two lab tests,” Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said, adding all 106 people on board the man’s flight had been located.
Among those being monitored were the man’s two sons, who were considered at high risk because of their proximity to their father. The two had been tested and results were due later on Friday, Mr Rajata said.
Most of those under observation had been told to stay at home for 14 days.
South Korea’s outbreak, the largest outside Saudi Arabia, had been traced to a 68-year-old man who returned from a business trip to the Middle East in early May.
It spread through hospitals with all of its infections known to have occurred in healthcare facilities.
The outbreak in South Korea appeared to have peaked, with just one new case reported on Friday and the number of people in quarantine down 12 per cent to 5,930, though authorities were taking no chances.
“Given the current developments, we have judged that it has levelled off, but we need to watch further spread, further cases from so-called intensive control hospitals,” the South Korean health ministry’s chief policy official, Kwan Deok-cheol, told a briefing in Seoul.
In Thailand, authorities were screening passengers from countries seen at risk of MERS and stepping up public information about the virus, another health official said.
The Middle East is an important source of tourists for Thailand with arrivals from the region up by nearly 50 per cent in January, according to the tourism office.
Bangkok is also one of the region’s main aviation hubs.
The vast majority of MERS infections have been in Saudi Arabia, where more than 1,000 people have been infected since 2012, and about 454 have died. There is no cure.
Shares in Thai aviation companies and hotels fell on Friday with hotel operator Central Plaza Hotel plunging 6.6 per cent. Airports operator Airports of Thailand dropped 4.2 percent to a more than three-week low. Bumrungrad Hospital shares were down over 6 per cent.
Courtesy of irishtimes.com

Apocalyptic flooding with the threat of landslides strikes Malaysia and Thailand

State Of Emergency

Even by Malaysian standards, this flooding is epic.
Neighborhoods turned into islands surrounded by a sea of murky brown water. Streets doubled as rivers. Cars were swept away and toppled over.
The flooding has forced more than 132,000 people to evacuate, Malaysia’s official Bernama news agency said.
Strong currents and interrupted power supply are adding to the chaos, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told reporters.
“Clean water supply too cannot be delivered, and flood victims at the temporary relief centers had to endure darkness without electric supply,” he said, according to Bernama.
The flooding ravaging Malaysia started more than a week ago. While the region is accustomed to monsoons, the “northeast monsoon” that has gripped Malaysia, Indonesia and southern Thailand is particularly harsh.
Watch this video
Here’s how it works, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said Saturday:
Strong high pressure develops over Eastern Europe and China and strengthens northeasterly winds from the South China Sea, bringing heavier rainfall over Malaysia, Indonesia and southern Thailand.
And it’s going to get worse. Another 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain could fall over the next two days near the Malaysia-Thailand border, he said.
“That leaves open all kinds of possibilities — more flooding, and the possibility of landslides and mudslides,” Van Dam said.
Across the Bay of Bengal, Sri Lanka has been hit hard, too.
Kandy, in the center of the island nation, received more than twice the average monthly rainfall in just the past eight days, Van Dam said.
Courtesy of CNN

Hundreds of thousands of TONNES of shrimp wiped out due to disease in Thailand

Shrimp exports are not expected to recover until next year’s second quarter, as Thailand has yet to eliminate early mortality syndrome (EMS) from its shrimp farms. “Overall shrimp exports remain in bad shape.

Deadly Ebola Virus; Man rushed to the infectious disease hospital due to symptoms of Ebola Virus in Myanmar

Ebola Virus

A man traveled from Thailand to Myanmar has been suspected of catching the deadly Ebola virus, Myanmar’s Ministry of Information reported Wednesday.

The ministry said on its website that the patient, who used to work in Guinea and Liberia, arrived at the airport in Yangon from Bangkok at around 8 p.m. Tuesday with a high fever.

The man has been transferred to an infectious disease hospital in the suburbs of Yangon for further diagnosis, said the ministry.