Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh La Thang speaks at the urgent meeting with representatives of the Health Ministry, the Pasteur Institute and other agencies on October 19 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A new case of Zika infection has just been recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, the fifth in the city so far, triggering concern that more Zika cases are likely to appear in the southern hub.

At an urgent meeting on October 19 after the report of the latest Zika infection, Phan Trong Lan, Director of the Pasteur Institute said with the increase in the incidence of dengue fever, the risk of Zika outbreaks is real as both diseases are transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

The newly-detected Zika patient is a man living in District 5.

Lan said the first move to make now is to try to slow down the transmission of Zika virus in the community while waiting for the invention of a vaccine or drug.

At the meeting, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh La Thang said the city must overhaul its disease prevention and control work as the dengue fever incidence has increased by 19 percent from a year earlier, and Zika cases have been continually recorded.

He called on the entire political system, organisations and residents in the city to join hands in killing mosquitoes and larvae to stop dengue fever and Zika infection.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said HCM City has the biggest numbers of dengue fever and Zika patients.

The same day, the HCM City People’s Committee had another urgent meeting with officials of the 24 districts to work out concrete dengue fever and Zika prevention solutions for each locality.

The municipal Department of Health said Binh Chanh is the most vulnerable district as it has the highest density of mosquitoes and larvae. It is followed by Thu Duc and Hoc Mon districts.

The department and the Pasteur Institute have been screening patients for Zika at 30 hospitals while the number of Zika monitoring checkpoints has been raised to 45. HCM City also plans to equip its preventive medicine centre, the Pasteur Institute and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases with more equipment to test for Zika virus.

The Ministry of Health has raised the Zika virus warning to level 3 - the dangerous level in Vietnam. Meanwhile, HCM City also announced a Zika outbreak on communal and ward scale on October 18.-VNA