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Viet Nam to tighten Zika observations

Update: February, 24/2016 - 09:31
Authority supervises visitor's body temperature at an airport. The health sector will continue to strengthen the supervision at ports of entry of passengers from countries and territories with the Zika virus. — Photo tienphong.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The health sector will continue to strengthen the supervision at ports of entry of passengers from countries and territories with the Zika virus, the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) under the Ministry of Health announced yesterday.

The ministry will collaborate with relevant agencies and international organisations to watch for the disease and promote the Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)'s activities.

According to the GDPM, 44 countries and territories have announced Zika virus cases, including three deaths in Venezuela and two in Brazil. The GDPM also warned of a high risk of the virus entering Viet Nam, as cases have been reported in neighbours Thailand and China.

The clinical symptoms of Zika are usually mild and often similar to dengue, which is transmitted by the same mosquito, so it is difficult to confirm the infection, according to Truong Dinh Bac, deputy head of the General Department.

Zika has been linked to a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads. Having a small head can cause brain damage in newborns. However, the virus is less dangerous to adults and most infected adults get well without treatment.

According to Bac, Zika can only be detected by a blood test, and even then it is very difficult to detect in the first phase of the disease. Currently there is no vaccine or cure.

The ministry warned people to keep up to date on information about the Zika virus through official websites. It advised citizens, especially pregnant women, to avoid travel in areas where Zika is active.

Residents are also urged to take necessary precautions and eliminate mosquito larva in their homes and workplaces. — VNS

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