Medical network placed on high alert for Zika outbreaks hinh anh 1Passengers at Cam Ranh International Airport (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s healthcare network has been placed on high alert because of the high risk of Zika virus outbreaks in the country.

At a meeting on March 28, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long called for a higher warning level to prompt preventative measures.

Experts said 61 countries and territories have reported cases of the Zika virus, a number which is expected to grow. The World Health Organisation classified the Zika virus as a global emergency, with increasing scientific evidence indicating the virus causes microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

On March 22, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH) was informed about an Australian visitor testing positive for the mosquito-borne virus after returning from the Southeast Asian nation, according to the Preventive Medicine Department.

The MoH’s Emergency Operations Centre now believes that there is a very high risk of Zika outbreaks in Vietnam.

Deputy Minister Long ordered MoH subordinate agencies and medical establishments to enhance Zika virus testing, publicise a list of facilities capable of testing for the Zika virus and provide intensive training for health workers.

Communication must also be stepped up by the health sector and media outlets to update the public, especially pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy, on preventative measures, he added.-VNA