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Expat Exchange - Zika Virus in Cambodia
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Siem Reap, Cambodia


Zika Virus in Cambodia

By Betsy Burlingame

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Allianz Care

Summary: The mosquito-borne Zika Virus is a p for people living in Cambodia. It's especially important for pregnant women to understand the risks of getting Zika during pregnancy. Learn how to limit your exposure and what to do if you get Zika.

In Cambodia, residents face concerns related to the Zika Virus transmitted by mosquitoes. Pregnant women, in particular, need to be aware of the risks associated with contracting Zika during their pregnancy. Discover ways to minimize exposure and steps to take if you contract the virus.

The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, has been a global concern since its outbreak in Brazil in 2015. While the virus has spread to various parts of the world, this article focuses on the situation in Cambodia, a Southeast Asian country known for its rich history and culture. The presence of the Zika virus in Cambodia poses a significant health risk to both locals and expatriates. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about the Zika virus in Cambodia, its symptoms, prevalence, and its impact on pregnancy. It also offers advice on how to prevent mosquito bites and what to do if you contract the virus.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease primarily transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. Symptoms of the virus include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). These symptoms usually last for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. While the illness is usually mild, the long-lasting effects can be severe. The most significant concern is the virus's link to microcephaly, a condition where a baby is born with a smaller head due to abnormal brain development. Zika virus can also cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.

Where is Zika Most Prevalent in Cambodia?

Zika virus has been present in Cambodia for several years, with the first reported case in 2010. The virus is more prevalent in urban areas where the Aedes mosquito thrives. These areas include the capital city, Phnom Penh, and other densely populated regions. However, it's important to note that the risk of Zika virus exists throughout the country, and precautions should be taken regardless of the area.

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Zika virus poses a significant risk to pregnant women due to its link to birth defects. If a pregnant woman contracts the virus, it can be passed to her fetus, leading to severe brain abnormalities like microcephaly. Pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant are advised to avoid areas with Zika virus outbreaks. If travel is unavoidable, they should take strict precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

How do Expats in Cambodia Prevent Mosquito Bites?

Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to avoid contracting the Zika virus. Expats in Cambodia can take several measures to protect themselves. These include wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using mosquito repellents, and staying in places with window and door screens or air conditioning. It's also advisable to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, such as containers with standing water, as much as possible.

What if I get Zika Virus in Cambodia?

If you suspect you have contracted the Zika virus in Cambodia, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately. While there's no specific treatment for the virus, symptoms can be managed with rest, hydration, and over-the-counter medications for fever and pain. If you're pregnant and suspect you have Zika, it's essential to get tested and receive regular prenatal care.

Is Zika Virus Contagious?

Zika virus is not contagious in the traditional sense; it cannot be spread directly from person to person through casual contact. However, it can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person, from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and potentially through blood transfusion. Mosquitoes play a crucial role in the transmission cycle, spreading the virus by biting an infected person and then biting others.

Is Zika Virus More Dangerous for Children, Elderly, or Immune-Compromised?

While the Zika virus typically causes mild symptoms in most people, certain groups may be at higher risk for severe illness. These include individuals with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and young children. However, the most significant risk is to unborn babies, as the virus can cause severe birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women are considered the most at-risk group.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Siem Reap, Cambodia

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SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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