Vietnam on alert as Zika virus threatens from neighbors
(VNF) - Vietnam has put several high-risk locations on high alert following reports of the Zika virus spreading across Singapore and Malaysia.
On September 1st, the Ministry of Health (MoH) convened an online meeting with authorities from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, provinces in the Central Highlands and the central province of Khanh Hoa to discuss ways to prevent the disease from entering Vietnam.
Advanced screening technology will be used and monitoring expanded to outpatient medical stations (illustrative image)
Vietnam’s General Department of Preventive Medicine said MoH will use advanced screening technology to diagnose cases of the Zika virus. The Trioplex test, provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, started this month, and is able to detect chikungunya, dengue and Zika in a single test.
Representatives at the meeting also agreed that monitoring should be expanded to outpatient medical stations, where patients with early symptoms often go for health checks.
Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology will also hold training courses for medical workers across the country to show them how to test patients.
From April to early August, Vietnam confirmed three cases of the Zika virus in Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang and the central province of Phu Yen. In past two months, the country has no case of the disease caused by Zika virus yet it is highly likely that Vietnam will have cases of infection because mosquito is vector to transmit the disease and many people travel between countries.
MoH ordered localities to implement active prevention measures for early detection of new cases of Zika virus disease and handle the outbreaks.
Authorities in Singapore said they had detected 151 cases of the Zika virus, including a second pregnant woman, as of September 1st. The government said that half of the cases reported previously were foreigners, mainly from China, India and Bangladesh, and most had already recovered, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Reuters quoted Malaysian officials as saying Sunday that the country is bracing for more Zika cases after detecting the first locally infected patient, which could further stretch a health system struggling with dengue, another mosquito-borne virus that can be fatal.
Zika is primarily spread by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected person. A case of suspected transmission through a blood transfusion in Brazil has raised questions about other ways it may be spread, according to Reuters./.