Baby born with suspected microcephaly reported in Dak Lak hinh anh 1 The October 17 meeting (Source: VNA)
Dak Lak (VNA) – A baby born with suspected microcephaly ​has been reported in Krong Buk district in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, according to the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

The blood sample of the four-month-old baby has been sent to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) which will coordinate with Japan’s Nagasaki University to conduct Zika virus testing.

After hearing the news, the Health Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) on October 17 organised a meeting with the participation of relevant international units and organisations.

Diseases linked to Zika virus have circulated in Vietnam, especially in areas where mosquitoes spreading dengue and Zika have been found, heard the meeting.

Cases of baby born with Zika-related microcephaly may be found in Vietnam as risk of microcephaly is about 1-10 percent of infants born to mothers who become infected with the virus during their first trimester of pregnancy, the participants said.

The Health Ministry has instructed the Department of Preventive Medicine to team up with the Maternal and Child Health Department, the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the National Hospital of Paediatrics, the NIHE and the NIHE’s office in the Central Highlands to establish a working group to study the case.

To prevent the spread of Zika virus, especially among pregnant women and infants, the Health Ministry advised pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika outbreaks.

The pregnant women, particularly in their first trimester of pregnancy, who have travelled to or are living in Zika-hit areas, and are now experiencing fever or rash, and one of the symptoms of muscle pain and conjunctivitis should go to health centres to get medical advice and check-ups, it said.

The Zika virus has been detected in 73 countries and territories worldwide. On October 11, the World Health Organisation said there is a high risk of Zika virus spreading through Asia.

The virus has been circulated in seven out of ten Southeast Asian nations. As of October 17, seven cases of Zika infection were confirmed in the central provinces of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen, Binh Duong province and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

Zika is mainly transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue fever. The virus causes only mild symptoms in most, including fever, sore eyes and a rash. But pregnant women infected with the virus risk giving birth to babies with microcephaly -- a deformation that leads to abnormally small brains and heads.

Currently there is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat the disease.

Brazil is worst affected by Zika virus with about 1.5 million patients.-VNA