HCM City steps up screening for Zika virus hinh anh 1Zika virus is transmitted through Aedes mosquito bites (Photo: EPA/VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – Ho Chi Minh City is offering more advice and tests for pregnant women amidst fear of the Zika virus, with 17 cases reported in the southern city by October 31.

Hung Vuong Hospital, which gives check-ups to about 600 pregnant women each day, has provided Zika-related advice and tests since April under Ministry of Health orders. Newly-born babies there are also examined for microcephaly, doctor Nguyen Vu My Linh said.

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

Deputy Director of the hospital Tran Ngoc Hai said there had been an increase in the number of pregnant women asking about Zika, with one in five women concerned about the mosquito-borne virus.

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

One problem in screening for Zika is that the symptoms can be mistaken for those of flu, Hai said, advising pregnant women to get regular check-ups and tests when they have any two symptoms among fever, rash, arthralgia or conjunctivitis.

Phan Trong Lan, Director of the Pasteur Institute in HCM City, recommends women who intend to have a baby or are in the first three months of pregnancy 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.-VNA