22 September 2016
As Southeast Asia continues to see reports of new Zika outbreaks, this latest case of public health threat underscores the importance of continued vigilance to new emerging diseases, as well as deepening regional cooperation in ensuring health security for states and societies in ASEAN and beyond.
Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Zika – a hitherto little-known virus – as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in February 2016, Zika cases have spread in over 70 countries and territories. Brazil recorded the highest number of cases: 78000 confirmed infections. Southeast Asia has not been spared.
Singapore has already reported 383 cases, including 8 pregnant women, while cases have also been reported in Philippines and Thailand. The Zika outbreak once again highlights the need for continued disease surveillance and control in the region, while underscoring the importance of having a clear and comprehensive public health strategy in dealing with the threat of emerging diseases to health security.
… Sunil Unnikrishnan is Associate Research Fellow of the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Mely Caballero-Anthony is Associate Professor and Head of the NTS Centre.
GPO / NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 23/09/2016