Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Health ministers from ASEAN member states convened a teleconference on September 19 seeking ways to combat Zika virus, which has hit many parts of Southeast Asia.

As of September 19, seven out of 10 ASEAN countries recorded Zika infections, except for Laos, Brunei and Myanmar.

Thailand and Myanmar reported the viral disease in 1954 and 1969, respectively, but it was yet to erupt into outbreak. Since 2012, the number of cases in 13 Thai cities and provinces has surged to 314.

Since late August, 369 Singaporeans have contracted the virus.

As of September 16 in Vietnam, three people in Ho Chi Minh City, the central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen were found to be positive to the virus, with two samples of virus belonging to the Asian and American lineage.

The Vietnamese health ministry forecast that more cases of infection are likely to be reported in the country in the near future.

Speaking at the event, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said Vietnam has raised public awareness of Zika prevention, especially at international airports and border gates, as well as called for global financial aid in the fight.

Concluding the event, participants issued a joint statement detailing joint cooperation in increasing monitoring efforts in each member country, improving information exchange, surveillance and countermeasures, as well as mosquito control and management of larvae breeding grounds.-VNA