Zika cases in HCM City climb to 17 hinh anh 1A patient is hearing doctor's consultation (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) – The Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City declared 17 Zika infections in the city as of October 31, all detected by the local disease monitoring system.

In the face of the rising cases, the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine held a working session with the municipal Department of Health and Pasteur Institute in the morning of October 31 to seek measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Head of the preventive medicine department Tran Dac Phu said a big population, large numbers of visitors, poor environmental sanitation in many areas and low public awareness of disease prevention are all reasons behind the rapid increase of infections.

The city is also at the peak of dengue fever season, which is transmitted by the same type of mosquito as Zika virus, so the detection of more Zika cases is unavoidable, he added.

Earlier on October 30, the preventive health department confirmed a Zika-linked microcephaly case of a four-month-old baby in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak.

Therefore measures to protect pregnant women are urgent, Phu said, suggesting focusing on consultations and screening for this group.

The health sector has also advised pregnant women to have regular prenatal check-up and avoid mosquito bites.

So far, Vietnam has recorded 23 Zika infection cases, including 17 in HCM City.

Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Binh Duong, Long An, Tra Vinh, and Dak Lak each reported one case.

Zika is mainly transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also carries dengue fever. The virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with small heads, and in the vast majority of cases, brain damage.

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