Vietnam reports first case of microcephaly

Vietnamese Ministry of Health October 17 announced the first case of microcephaly in the central highland province of Dak Lak.

The first known case of microcephaly is a four month old baby in Krong Buk Dsitrict.

Through epidemic investigation, the mother has had fever and rash during her pregnancy of third month and sixth; moreover, there have been severe dengue fever outbreaks in her neighboring area at that time. 

Zika virus,   an emerging mosquito-borne virus, infection during pregnancy causes a birth defect called microcephaly.

Soon, the Institute of Epidemiology in Dak Lak took samples to send to the National Institute of Epidemiology liaising with labs in Japanese University of Nagasakifor tests.

Accordingly the Emergency Operations Center convened an urgent meeting presided  by Deputy Health Minister Professor Nguyen Thanh Long with the participation of related international health organizations, resulting that Zika virus has circulated in the Southeast Asian country; hence more cases of microcephaly would be able to discover in next time especially in the area having mosquitoes transmitting dengue and Zika.

Though Zika vuris could be the cause of microcephaly, the defect is caused by a number of factors including virus Rubella, rubella, herpes, syphilis, Toxoplasma, poisoning, malnutrition or heredity.

Deputy Health Minister urged the Department of Preventive Medicine,  the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, the Department of Maternal and Child Health, the National Maternity Hospitals, the National Children, the National Institute of Epidemiology and its institute in the central highlands to set up a scientific council to carry out a thorough study for the case as well as take samples for test to verify the cause.

Additionally, to prevent the disease spreading among the community especially among the pregnant women, the Ministry and EOC raised the alarming level as well as issued warning to residents to carry out strictly preventive measures against Zika virus warning that pregnant women not to go to the disease-hit areas. If they plan to go to the affected nations, they must apply insect repellent as directed, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and sleep in mosquito nets.

Residents should kill mosquitoes by remove stagnant water and prevent mosquitoes from breeding, dispose of unwanted containers where water may gather (such as lunch boxes and soft-drink cans) into a covered bin.

The Ministry announced 73 nations and territories worldwide reported case of Zika virus infection. The World Health Organization warned the emerging mosquito-borne virus disease is showing an upward trend in the Asia and more infection cases will be reported.

In the Southeast Asian countries, 7 over 10 nations reported the circulation of Zika virus. In Vietnam, so far seven cases of Zika virus infection have been recorded in the central provinces of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, the southern province of Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City.

By Nguyen Quoc – translated by Uyen Phuong

Other news