Spraying mosquito-killing chemicals in HCM City. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Health (MoH) has increased the Zika virus warning to level 3 - the dangerous level, Tran Dac Phu, Director of the Preventive Medicine Department, announced in an urgent meeting held in Hanoi.

In a meeting on October 17 aimed at finding measures to deal with Zika-related diseases, Phu warned that women intending to get pregnant should avoid affected areas.

If they must go there, the women should take preventive measures and study the disease, he said.

Pregnant women - especially those in the three first months of the pregnancy - who have been in the affected areas and had dengue fever and conjunctivitis should go to medical stations for consultancy, Phu said.

At the meeting, health experts called the Zika virus a complicated global virus. More than 70 countries and territories have seen cases.

On October 11 this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that Zika had spread to Southeast Asia; seven out of 10 countries in the area had the disease.

By October 17, seven Vietnamese cases of the disease were reported in Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen and Binh Duong provinces and HCM City.

Suspected microcephaly case reported.

On October 14, the MoH supervision system discovered a four-month-old baby in Krong Buk District, Dak Lak born malformed with an unusually small head, suspected to be a case of microcephaly caused by Zika virus.

The National Institute of Hygiene And Epidemiology is joining Japan’s Nagasaki University to conduct tests on the case.

The MoH’s study showed that the mother had dengue fever in the third and the sixth months of the pregnancy. The dengue fever condition in their living area was quite serious.

So far this year, the Krong Buk District had nearly 300 cases of dengue fever, ranging across all seven communes. It is a 400 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

A representative from the MoH said that the disease caused by the Zika virus had spread in Vietnam. Next time, more cases with innate malformations and small head could be discovered.

The symptom of unusually small craniums can be seen in from one to ten percent of newborns delivered by mothers contaminated with Zika virus in three first months of their pregnancy.

But abnormal head sizes can be caused by other reasons, for instance, due to Rubella virus, syphilis bacteria, malnutrition and heredity.-VNA