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MoH to provide free testing for Zika virus

Update: February, 18/2016 - 16:00
A pregnant woman is given a net to catch mosquitoes in Colombia. — Photo AFP/VNA

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health plans to administer free medical tests to people suspected of having contracted the Zika virus to allow for early detection, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said.

Long advised people, especially women of reproductive age, travelling from areas affected by the disease outbreaks, to visit medical stations for the test.

For now, the ministry has assigned the Ha Noi-based National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and HCM City-based Pasteur Hospital to conduct the tests. The Ha Noi-based National Hospital of Tropical Diseases and the HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital will eventually join the initiative as well.

Test samples have been taken at eight stations in HCM City so far. In the northern region, testing will begin next week.

No cases of Zika fever have been reported in Viet Nam so far, but the country's health sector is expanding surveillance as the world epidemic situation becomes more serious.

The Zika virus is spreading across countries and territories in the Americas where Aedes mosquitoes live.

The World Health Organisation had issued a global emergency after a worldwide epidemic of the Zika virus was linked to a huge rise in babies being born with abnormally small heads.

According to WHO, the incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of the Zika virus is unclear, but it is likely a period lasting a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections, such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, fatigue and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for two to seven days.

Currently, there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for the virus. — VNS

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