|Medical staff sprays chemical to kill mosquito in Hai Ba Trung District, Ha Noi. No cases of Zika fever have been reported in Viet Nam so far, but there is a high risk that the virus may enter the country due to the presence of Aedes mosquitoes – which transmit the virus – and exchanges between Viet Nam and other countries. — VNS/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — No cases of Zika fever have been reported in Viet Nam so far, but there is a high risk that the virus may enter the country due to the presence of Aedes mosquitoes – which transmit the virus – and exchanges between Viet Nam and other countries.
The Zika virus is transmitted to humans through Aedes mosquitoes, which are also the main carriers of dengue fever. The Preventive Medicine Department said yesterday that the disease is spreading rapidly, especially in Latin America.
The first case of Zika infection was confirmed in Brazil in May 2015, and the virus has appeared in 21 countries and territories in Latin America as of January 23.
The department explained that anyone who had not previously been exposed to the virus could become infected.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Latin America has warned that the Zika virus will continue to spread to most countries and territories in the region, as Aedes mosquitoes can be found in most Latin American countries, according to the department.
Viet Nam's Ministry of Health has been regularly contacting the WHO in Viet Nam to learn about the development of the virus and countermeasures while instructing epidemic prevention institutions to watch the situation closely.
The ministry warned people travelling from Zika-striken countries to keep an eye on their health in the first 14 days after their arrival to Viet Nam. They should go to the nearest medical facility when they begin to experience fever-like symptoms.
It is also recommended that people should use mosquito chemical repellent, and securely cover all containers of water to prevent mosquitoes from entering them and laying eggs.
According to the WHO, Zika can be transmitted through blood, but this is an infrequent mechanism. Standard precautions that are already in place for ensuring safe blood donations and transfusions should be followed.
Evidence on mother-to-child transmission of Zika during pregnancy or childbirth is also limited. Research is currently underway to generate more evidence regarding perinatal transmission and to better understand how the virus affects babies. There is currently no evidence that Zika can be transmitted to babies through breast milk. — VNS