People asked not to get panicked by New Guinea flatworm

There have so far been no confirmation reports from the Disease Control Department that New Guinea flatworm, which has been found in Thailand, is a carrier of meningitis, an inflammation or swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Therefore, the people should not get panicked by reports on the discovery of New Guinea flatworm in Thailand, said Raviwan Puridet, secretary-general of the Office of the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Mrs Raviwan said ONEP, as national coordinator of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), has put New Guinea flatworm 4th on the list of invasive alien species which have not been found in Thailand � in line with the cabinet resolution of April 28, 2009.

However, since New Guinea flatworm has been found in Thailand, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will hold a meeting to discuss ways of tackling this problem.

If necessary, a study must be conducted to find preventive measures, she said.

If there are academic indidations that this kind of flatworm can affect the eco-system and biological diversity of Thailand, ONEP will have to improve the list of invasive alien species which have not been found in Thailand, said Mrs Raviwan.

The Public Health Ministry's Disease Control Department, meanwhile, has not come up with any academic evidence and proofs that New Guinea flatworm is a carrier of meningitis.

Therefore, the people should not get panicked by the discovery of this kind of flatworm in Thailand, she added.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)