Viet Nam News -
HCM CITY — A pregnant woman visiting the Hùng Vương Obstetrics Hospital in HCM City picked up a leaflet about the Zika virus off a shelf in the examination room.
The woman, 41, was especially concerned about the virus after hearing that HCM City had recorded its first Zika case, that of a 33-year-old pregnant woman from District 2.
“I’m worried about the disease as it can harm the fetus,” she said, adding that she would take the leaflet home for her husband and relatives to read. “They will have more awareness of this new disease and carry out preventive actions.”
Dr Huỳnh Xuân Nghiêm, deputy head of the Hùng Vương Hospital, said that obstetrics hospitals in the city provided information about the disease as well as protective measures.
Along with leaflets, many standing posters on the disease are placed in the Hùng Vương hospital’s campus.
A hotline at the hospital that will provide counselling on the Zika virus will begin next week.
“It is very necessary to do it right now because many pregnant women who visit the hospital are worried. Insufficient information about the disease, via social media, newspapers and word of mouth, has quickly spread,” Nghiêm said.
Since the Ministry of Health reported the first Zika case last week, more than 100 pregnant women have visited the hospital daily to ask for counselling, according to Nghiêm.
Of more than 100 pregnant women, 30-50 per cent want to have blood tests for the disease although they do not have a fever or rash.
“They do not understand that the test is just done for people who have had symptoms of fever, rash or joint pain for three to five days,” Nghiêm said.
The test is free for people who show symptoms and who have visited high-risk areas in the city or elsewhere.
A 25-year-old man from Tân Phú District who had brought his wife to Hùng Vương Hospital for a prenatal check-up told his wife to ask for more details about Zika when she met her doctors.
A pregnant woman from Bình Tân District said she was also worried.
“Luckily, I live in Bình Tân District. If I live in District 2, I would move to other districts to live. Every day, I take protective methods by using creams that protect from mosquito bites and I also use a mosquito net,” she said.
Nghiêm said that pregnant women should not be too anxious, noting that health officials had carried out methods to stop the spread in the area.
He said that residents should clear away any standing containers of water with larvae and mosquitoes inside and around their home because the Zika virus is transmitted through bites of the infected Aedes mosquito.
Health officials have said that Việt Nam is also home to the mosquitoes that cause dengue and yellow fever.
The Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, according to World Health Organisation.
The virus is a mild disease and most people with the virus do not have symptoms.
However, evidence is growing that the virus can cause both microcephaly and Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which is an uncommon sickness of the nervous system.
The virus has been detected in blood, urine, amniotic fluids, semen and body fluids found in the brain and spinal cord. — VNS