Viet Nam News -
HÀ NỘI (VNS) — The health ministry announced the detection of Việt Nam’s first two Zika cases in the central Khánh Hòa Province and HCM City at a press conference yesterday.
“The two patients are in a stable condition,” Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long said at the event.
“Tests have showed that none of the relatives or neighbouring families of the two patients has the Zika infection,” Long said.
The first patient is a 64-year-old woman in Phước Hòa Ward in Khánh Hòa’s Nha Trang City. She fell sick and had symptoms such as slight fever, headache, hives on feet and conjunctivitis.
She was admitted to the Khánh Hòa Tropical Diseases Hospital on March 23, where she tested positive for the Zika virus on March 31. The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and the HCM City Pasteur Institute yesterday also confirmed the result.
The second patient is a 33-year-old woman, who is in the second month of her pregnancy, in Thạch Mỹ Lợi Ward, District 2, HCM City. She fell sick with symptoms such as hives and conjunctivitis on March 29, and was admitted to District 2 General Hospital on the same day for a check-up.
Test conducted at the HCM City Pasteur Institute on March 31 and April 1, the NIHE on April 2 and the Nagasaki University laboratory located in the NIHE yesterday also confirmed she had the Zika virus.
Long said people should not worry too much about Zika, even though the disease could spread to more localities in the future.
The health ministry asked Khánh Hòa Province and HCM City to intensify measures to localise and eliminate Zika outbreaks. The ministry also said Khánh Hòa and HCM City should disseminate information about the Zika virus at commune and ward levels, as per legal regulations.
The health sector said as of April 4, it had conducted 1,215 tests on samples collected from suspected Zika patients in 32 provinces and cities nation-wide.
Long said the health ministry did not recommend people to limit travel between regions and provinces in the country.
“We only warned pregnant women to consider carefully before entering a Zika-affected area, because the virus might cause brain damage or microcephaly in babies if the mothers had the Zika infection during their first three months of pregnancy,” Long said.
Zika is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites. The best way to prevent the Zika infection is to kill mosquitoes and their larvae. Each person and household should take measures to prevent mosquito bites. Hospitals and medical units had prepared enough facilities, medicines and tests in response to the Zika threat, added Long.
The health ministry recently raised the warning level for the Zika virus nationwide. Provinces and cities were requested to take urgent measures against the spread of the virus in the country.
HCM City unveils emergency measures
HCM City People’s Committee yesterday met with a delegation led by Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến to discuss prevention of possible Zika outbreaks in the city.
Lê Thanh Liêm, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, instructed the Department of Health to work closely with health authorities in the 24 wards to improve screening for outbreaks.
The department yesterday announced emergency plans to contain the disease by killing mosquitoes and carrying out communication campaigns to raise public awareness.
Nguyễn Tấn Bỉnh, the department director, said passengers arriving at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport were screened for fever, especially if they are coming from areas where there have been Zika outbreaks.
City hospitals were obtaining samples from high-risk patients who have lived in or returned from infected areas and have Zika symptoms, and sending them to the HCM City Pasteur Institute, he said.
District-level preventive medicine centres and hospitals had been instructed to report to the city’s Preventive Medicine Centre about any suspected cases for timely treatment, he said.
Tiến said obstetrics hospitals in the city should keep a close eye on pregnant women in their first trimester for symptoms such as fever, rash, headache, muscle ache and conjunctivitis, which could indicate Zika infection.
The health ministry delegation yesterday inspected the PetroVietnam Tower in District 1 where the city’s first Zika patient, a 33-year-old pregnant woman, works.
It also visited her house in Thạnh Mỹ Lợi Ward in District 2.
The Preventive Medicine Centre has identified 10 areas in District 2, including Thạnh Mỹ Lợi, as facing a high risk of dengue fever.
Last year the number of dengue fever cases in the district had risen three-fold, the centre said.
On the same day, after a Zika case was announced in Khánh Hòa Province, the provincial People’s Committee issued an urgent decision to announce the epidemic within wards.
According to the decision, the director of the provincial health department and chairpersons of people’s committees at all levels in Khánh Hòa Province have been called on to take preventive measures.
At a meeting to announce the decision yesterday afternoon, Deputy Health Minister Nguyễn Thanh Long said that the Zika infection in the province was transmitted through mosquito bites, however, it is not yet clear where the patient was infected.
He asked Nha Trang Pasteur Institute to take blood samples from six members in the patient’s family for testing.
He also warned that the possibility of the virus spreading to the whole province and other localities was very large. He asked the province to spray chemicals to kill mosquitoes on large-scale areas.
Lê Đức Vinh, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said that the province had warned the patient not to leave her house for 14 days.
The people’s committees at all levels must launch campaigns to kill mosquito larva while the provincial People’s Committee would order relevant sectors to cooperate with each other to conduct treatment and identify outbreaks, he said. — VNS