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Taiwan and the U.S. held International Seminar on Zika Virus Testing Aiming to Work with 12 Southeast Asian Countries to Improve Capacity for Zika Prevention in the Asia Pacific

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2016-04-13
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

In response to the threat of the Zika virus, Taiwan and the U.S. held a three-day International Seminar on the Zika Virus Testing and Diagnosis starting today (April 13), introducing a rapid test kit that can test mosquito-borne diseases, including: the Zika virus, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever within three hours. It will become an important testing tool in the future. 

  The Seminar was held according to the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) signed by both Taiwan and the U.S., and it is the first time that training courses on the testing and diagnosis of the Zika Virus have been held in the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia regions. The aim of this seminar is to improve the regional capacity for disease prevention. The Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruce Linghu, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan Kin W. Moy, and the Vice President-elect of the Republic of China Chen Chien-jen attended the seminar. 

  The seminar invited three instructors from the U.S. and Japan. Dr. Shieh Wun-ju from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. was the first expert that engaged in the pathological diagnosis of microcephaly found in Brazil. Dr. Shigeru Tajima from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Japan was the first expert that successfully separated the Zika virus. The expert from the U.S. will introduce the rapid test kit for the Zika virus, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever in order to improve the laboratory testing capacities. 

  The first case of imported Zika virus infection was screened on January 10, 2016. As of April 10, 1,549 cases have been tested in Taiwan and none of them were confirmed. Having the capacity for serum, molecular biology, and viral culture tests, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Test Center can obtain test results within three hours. After the rapid test kit is introduced in the future, the three abovementioned mosquito-borne diseases can be tested at the same time. 

  Following the seminars on the Ebola virus, MERS-CoV, and dengue fever, Taiwan and the U.S. held another seminar, this time with a focus on the Zika virus. Twenty-five laboratory experts and pathology professionals from 12 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. They attended the seminar in Taiwan to advance their capacity for testing and diagnosis of the Zika virus, improve the regional capacity for infectious disease prevention, and strengthen global health and safety through multilateral cooperation.