Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health urged the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) to strengthen its monitoring and detection of suspects infected with Zika virus at a meeting on January 29.

The health sector was asked to enhance the monitoring work at border areas, particularly among vehicles and passengers returning from Zika virus-hit areas.

The Ministry has also instructed health care facilities at all levels to get themselves well prepared for the quarantine and treatment work, while promoting publicity campaigns in a bid to enhance prevention measures against the disease.

Vietnam has no case of Zika infection so far, however, there is a high risk that the virus may enter and spread in the country due to the trade exchange and tourism connection with many Zika virus-hit nations, according to the Ministry.

The Ministry of Health is coordinating closely with the WHO to monitor the spread of the disease.

The ministry has warned people travelling from Zika virus-struck countries that they should keep an eye on their health in the first 14 days after arrival to Vietnam. They should go to the nearest medical facility should they begin to experience fever.

It is also recommended that people should use mosquito chemical repellent and securely cover all containers of water - to prevent mosquitoes from entering them and laying eggs.

According to the Department of Preventive Medicine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recorded the most number of Zika virus cases in the Americas and Africa.

Zika virus, first detected in Uganda’s Zika forest in 1947, is transmitted to humans through the ‘Aedes mosquito’ which is also the main carrier of dengue fever.

It causes mild fever, rash, muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. There is currently no cure for Zika virus, and no vaccine for it.-VNA