HCM City asked to contain Zika spread hinh anh 1Spraying to kill mosquito in Disrict 9, Ho Chi Minh City (Source: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – Authorities of Ho Chi Minh City and the municipal health sector must make all-out effort to prevent the Zika virus from spreading widely, said Deputy Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam.

During an urgent meeting with representatives from the municipal People’s Committee, the Pasteur Institute, and relevant sectors on November 6, Tam urged for more drastic measures to effectively constrain the spread of the mosquito-borne virus.

According to the municipal Department of Health, the city recorded 29 Zika infections in 19 wards of 11 districts as of November 6. Districts 2, 4, 9, 12, Binh Thanh, Tan Phu and Hoc Mon reported between 3-4 cases each.

Last week, eight out of 47 samples were tested positive for Zika. The testing will be continued in order to timely detect infections.

Chemical spraying will be immediately carried out in the residential areas of the people with samples just suspected to carry the virus, said Director of the municipal Department of Health Nguyen Tan Binh.

Campaigns to kill mosquito larva have been arranged in 11 districts having Zika infections, Binh noted, adding that spraying and environmental cleaning activities will be conducted in the remaining months of the year as part of efforts to contain mosquito-borne dengue fever and Zika disease.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu admitted that disease prevention in the city, especially in communes and wards, has not yet been effective.

District authorities need to pay more and due attention to the work, she said.

Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, who is also Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council, asked for more campaigns to raise public awareness of preventing Zika-related diseases, thus calling for proactive involvement of locals in killing mosquito larva.

Ho Chi Minh City’s hospitals are offering more advice and tests for pregnant women amidst fear of the Zika virus.

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 can give birth to babies with microcephaly - a deformation that leads to abnormally small heads.

Hung Vuong Hospital gives check-ups to about 600 pregnant women each day and it has provided Zika-related advice and tests since April as asked by the Ministry of Health.

Similar activities are being carried out at Tu Du Hospital, which specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Whenever an expectant mother shows suspect symptoms, medical workers take samples for testing and give them necessary information.

As Zika symptoms can be mistaken for those of flu, pregnant women are advised to get regular check-ups and tests when they have any two symptoms among fever, rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis.

Those who intend to have a baby or are in the first three months of pregnancy should avoid Zika-infected areas and mosquito bites.

On October 30, the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health confirmed Vietnam’s first microcephaly likely Zika case in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.

Currently there is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat the disease, which has to date spread to 73 countries.-VNA