The body temperature of passengers is monitored at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The health sector will continue strengthen the supervision at ports of entry for passengers from the countries and territories where the Zika virus is spreading, announced the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) under the Ministry of Health on February 23.

The process of testing, diagnosis and treatment will be conducted carefully. The health ministry will also collaborate closely with relevant agencies and international organisations to supervise the disease as well as promote the activities of the Health Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

According to the GDPM, as many as 44 countries and territories have so far announced Zika virus cases, including three deaths in Venezuela and two in Brazil. It also warned of a high risk of virus entering Vietnam as cases have been reported in neibouring Thailand and China.

The clinical symptoms of Zika are usually mild and often similar to dengue, which is transmitted by the same mosquito, so it is difficult to confirm the infection, according to Truong Dinh Bac, deputy head of the General Department.

Zika has been linked to a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads. Having a small head can cause brain damage in newborns. However, the virus is less dangerous to adults and most infected adults get well without treatment.

According to Bac, Zika virus can only be detected by a blood test, and even then it is very difficult to detect in the first phase of the disease. The Zika virus spreads through mosquito bites and currently, there is no cure for it.

The ministry has warned people to keep updated on information about the Zika virus through official websites and advised citizens, especially pregnant women, to avoid travel in areas where Zika is active.

Residents are also urged to take the necessary precautions and eliminate mosquito larva in their homes and workplaces.-VNA