Two cases of Zika virus found in HCMC, Khanh Hoa Province

Vietnamese Ministry of Health yesterday officially announced two first cases of Zika virus infections in Ho Chi Minh City and the central province of Khanh Hoa.

Yet the two first infections are stable at present.

Presiding over a press brief yesterday, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long sad that in the two first cases the disease was transmitted  through mosquito bites.

The Ministry has sent its document to authorities of Khanh Hoa province and HCMC to announce the disease epidemic as well as ask health institutes across the country to raise alert, he said.

Pasteur Institutes in Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City should work closely with localities to carry out medical investigations to detect possible cases.

Deputy Health Minister Long sad that more cases of Zika infections might be discovered in the future because more people travel to many countries in the world and there is presence of Aedes mosquito in the country. Because the disease showed no specific symptoms it is difficulty to find out yet pregnant women should be careful as there is a relation between Zika virus and children with microcephaly, Mr Long added.

WHO’s representative in Vietnam Mr. Kato said that Vietnam shoud increase monitoring to find out more fresh cases as well as call for public contribution in killing mosquitoes in curbing the transmission.

Worse, there is an evidence showed that the virus can be transmitted through sex so safe sex is needed, he said.

Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry Dr. Tran Dac Phu said that tests conducted by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi showed that blood samples are positive for the virus. 

One patient is a 64 year old woman in Nha Trang city of Khanh Hoa province who experienced slight fever, headache, rash in legs and red eyes. The patient’s relative purchased medication from nearby pharmacy for her yet her sickness did not abate. She was taken to the Hospital for Tropical Disease Khanh Hoa on March 28.

Tests conducted on March 31 by Pasteur Institute Nha Trang showed that her blood sample was tested positive for Zika virus. Tests conducted on April 4 by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Pasteur Institute in HCMC also showed the same results.

The second case of ZIka virus infection is a 33 year old pregnant female in HCMC’s District 2 who suffered rash, red eye and tiredness. She rushed to the District 2 General Hospital immediately because she thought she had rubella.

After she was hospitalized on the same day, doctors soon took her blood for tests which was done by Pasteur Institute showed the samples was positive for the dangerous virus. The sample tested again by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on April 2 and Nagasaki University in Japan on April 4 showed the same results.

Medical investigation of the two patients’ relatives and neighboring area showed that nobody else was infected with the disease.

Professor Tran Dac Phu said that many units to supervise the virus are being opened across the country including big cities like HCMC, Hanoi, Khanh Hoa Province , Highlands provinces and more . All tests will be free.

Subsequently, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien today partook in a medical investigation of the disease in HCMC. Ms. Tien said that the Zika epidemic is developing complicatedly; hence, the Ministry decided to raise alert level to danger.

Virus Zika is thought to cause microcephaly and a neurological disorder in newborn babies. Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which also transmits chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sex.

Zika virus has been detected in blood, urine, amniotic fluids, semen, saliva as well as body fluids found in the brain and spinal cord.

By staff writers - translated by Anh Quan

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