Health workers in Da Nang city prepare for Zika virus treatment in case of disease outbreak (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Health on April 6 issued a temporary manual guiding pregnant women on how to take care of themselves amid the circulation of the Zika virus, which has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and, in the vast majority of cases, brain damage.

The guidelines suggest pregnant women be tested for the virus if they are in the first three months of pregnancy, live in or visited Zika-hit areas, and have their husbands and sexual partners tested positive for Zika, or if they develop symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis and fatigue.

Those who tested positive for Zika should seek treatment based on ultrasound results, the manual said.

The central city of Da Nang is on high alert for a possible Zika outbreak at a time when the first two cases of the Zika virus were reported in central Khanh Hoa province and Ho Chi Minh City.

All hospitals in the locality are now standing ready for Zika treatment, although the city has confirmed no cases of the virus so far.

The municipal health sector also encouraged locals to eliminate hotbeds of mosquitoes and larvae that may carry the Zika virus while organising training courses for health workers on symptoms of Zika as well as how to cope with an outbreak.

The Da Nang Centre for Preventive Medicine sent 16 samples taken from patients with fevers to the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute for testing.
The municipal Health Department called for efforts to increase the measurement of body temperatures of domestic and foreign passengers at the Da Nang International Airport and Tien Sa Seaport.

Ton That Thanh, the centre’s director, said Da Nang is facing a high risk of the Zika virus as the city welcomes a large crowd of domestic and foreign visitors every day and records an average of 50 dengue patients each week.

Therefore, the local health sector has strengthened its inspection at tourist sites and residential areas, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health has allowed Da Nang to conduct tests for Zika instead of sending samples to relevant agencies in order to promptly detect the virus.

In the central province of Binh Thuan, working groups have been set up to check water containers in local households and raise public awareness of measures to prevent Zika.

Two patients, one in HCM City and the other in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, have tested positive for Zika, Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health Tran Dac Phu announced on April 5.

The 64-year-old patient in Khanh Hoa province developed a slight fever, rash, headache and conjunctivitis (red eyes) on March 26 . She was hospitalised on March 28 in the Khanh Hoa Tropical Hospital, where she was tested for Zika by Nha Trang Pasteur Institute on March 31.

The other case is a 33-year-old woman who also suffered from such symptoms as a rash, conjunctivitis and fatigue. Test results by the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute showed she had Zika.

Tests conducted by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) also confirmed the infection.

Check-ups on the patients’ family members and residents in the neighbourhood so far revealed no other infections.

Both patients are in stable health conditions.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s International Health Regulations (IHR) agency informed Vietnam ’s national agency for IHR implementation about the case of an Australian tourist who tested positive for Zika on March 22, said the Department of Preventive Medicine.

The Australian visitor stayed in Vietnam from February 26 to March 6 and travelled to Ho Chi Minh City , Lam Dong, Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces during that time. After returning to Australia, the person showed some symptoms of Zika infection such as fever, rash, headache, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and nausea.-VNA