Blood sample collected (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – No mosquito-borne Zika virus case has been reported within Vietnam so far this year, as samples collected are confirmed by labs as negative for the virus.

As many as 784 samples have been taken from 32 provinces and cities nationwide for testing and all have given negative results, said Tran Dac Phu, Head of the Preventive Medicine Department of the Ministry of Public Health, on March 30.

Though no infection has been recorded, preventive measures against the worrisome virus should be taken in a proactive manner, the Health Ministry said.

Deploying insecticide-sprayers and rooting out mosquito breeding places in homes are among the measures.

Those who return from Zika-hit areas are advised to monitor their health for the first 12 days and use condoms in sexual relationships to prevent transmitting the virus.

At a meeting on March 28 Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long affirmed that the national healthcare network has been placed on high alert because of the high risk of Zika virus outbreaks in the country.

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.

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