Vietnam raises “red alert” threshold for Zika virus

The Ministry of Health decided to raise “red alert” threshold of Zika virus right after receiving the information from the World Health Organization (WHO) which announced that Australia had identified a case of Zika infection after returning from Vietnam, said Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health Prof. Tran Dac Phu yesterday.

At the same time, the Ministry set up a mission team led by Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and leaders of related health agencies arrived in the central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan to liaise with people’s committees and health agencies there over the monitoring and implementing Zika prevention measures.

Through supervising localities, Deputy Health Minister ordered the health sector to raise alert level to the disease caused by the dangerous virus as well as take more samples for tests

The Ministry instructed Pasteur Institutes in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang in the central province of Khanh Hoa to help health agencies in localities where the Australian person stayed during journey in Vietnam. Medical clinics should prepare enough medicine, medical equipment for treating the infection cases if having.

Two days ago the WHO’s International Health Regulation (IHR) in Vietnam  announced that an Australian person was positive for Zika virus. Worse, the person came to Vietnam on February 26 and left the country for Australia on March 6.

This person showed symptoms of Zika infection, including fever, rash, headache, muscle aches, conjunctivitis, and nausea two days later. The person traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and central coastal Khanh Hoa province  and Binh Thuan province in Vietnam.

At present the Ministry is closely working with the IHR and WHO in Australia to get more information of the case as well as monitoring the circulation of the virus.

So far, Vietnam has recorded no case of Zika infection.

By Khanh Nguyen – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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