>> A sweeping move to check Zika's spread in Thailand. Health officials say they're considering mandatory testing for all pregnant women, after South-east Asia's first cases of microcephaly were discovered in the country last week. The condition causes infants to be born with small heads and is linked to Zika exposure in the womb.
But, as Amy Lefevre reports, the plan to scan expectant mothers raises some serious issues.>> Health authorities have said that if they detect Zika in the mother then they will do a ultrasound to determine, if the baby or the fetus has microcephaly. Now what they haven't said is what they'll do if indeed the baby or fetus does have a smaller than average head size Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, and abortions are very much found upon in Thai buddhism.
There are hundreds of thousands of pregnant women, hundreds of thousands of babies born in Thailand each year. Now the Health Ministry has admitted that the cost of testing of pregnant women will be high as well. It will cost around 2,000 vat that's just under a hundred US dollars per woman at the test if they have Zika.
>> Thailand is under pressured to stand about Zika after outbreaks in North and South Amerika, nearly 400 cases had been reported in the countries since it started the year. And the World Health Organization wants Bangkok doing even more to tackle the problem.>> They're saying that testing all pregnant women is a good start but the Health Ministry should also be testing at risk groups, for example men who could be having sex with potential pregnant women.
>> An estimated 80% of zika infections show no symptoms. Making it difficult for pregnant women to know if they've even got the virus and according to some experts it's likely the real number of cases is much larger than what's been uncovered so far.