The working session (Source: congan.com.vn)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Health Ministry had a working session with the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City on addressing the spread of Zika virus on April 5 in the city.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien called on local residents to stay calm and join their hands with the Ministry to kill mosquitoes in their neighbourhood.

Director of the municipal Health Department Nguyen Tan Binh said the locality had plans in place to tackle the spread of the virus in terms of human resources, medicines and facilities.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem instructed the Department of Information and Communication to work with the press on related publicity to avoid making local residents panic, while the Health Department and localities are urged to take measures to prevent and fight the disease.

The same day, a delegation from the Ministry, led by Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long also worked with the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on preventing and controlling Zika virus infection.

Deputy Minister Long urged local authorities to take drastic actions to kill mosqutoes, such as spraying chemicals on a large scale and taking sample tests in the community.

He also advised local pregnant women to use their discretion if considering travelling to the infected areas.

The Ministry also held an urgent meeting with health experts to compile a guideline to ensure safety in blood transfusions to prevent Zika virus spread following the discovery of two people who have contracted the virus.

The guideline notes that safety must be ensured in blood transfusions for pregnant women, particularly among those who are in the first three month of pregnancy. They should be given screened or processed blood which has been stored for at least 14 days before being used.

Additionally, blood donated by those who have tested positive for Zika virus, or have developed Zika-related symptoms should be kept for at least 28 days.

The experts also discussed ways to facilitate communication with blood donors so they can inform the transfusion services if they suspect Zika-like symptoms within 14 days after giving a donation.

The Ministry of Health announced two patients, one in Ho Chi Minh City and the other in Khanh Hoa province, have tested positive for Zika virus on April 5.

Some 61 countries and territories have recorded Zika cases. Zika is mainly transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also causes dengue fever.

The virus possibly 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.

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