4-year-old girl in southern Vietnam tests positive for Zika virus

By Le Phuong   October 21, 2016 | 04:25 pm GMT+7
4-year-old girl in southern Vietnam tests positive for Zika virus
Vietnam's first known case of microcephaly is a 4-month-old baby in Krong Buk Dsitrict in the Central Highland's Dak Lak Province. Photo by Reuters

The country has confirmed nine cases so far as outbreaks continue in Asia.

A 4-year-old girl from the Mekong Delta province of Long An has tested positive for the Zika virus, Ho Chi Minh City’s Pasteur Institute confirmed on Thursday.

The patient from Long An, more than 50 kilometers to the southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, is the country’s ninth confirmed case. She had earlier been admitted to hospital with high fever, joint pain and rashes all over her body.

Vietnam has raised the warning level for the virus after the commercial hub Ho Chi Minh City reported its fifth infection and was declared as a Zika red zone.

On October 14, Vietnamese health authorities confirmed the first suspected case of Zika-linked brain defect syndrome microcephaly in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak. The local hospital has taken samples from the 4-month-old girl and her mother and sent them to Japan’s Nagasaki University for further tests.

Tran Dac Phu, director of the preventive health department at the Ministry of Health, said final test results will determine if the virus did cause the rare birth defect.

Some initial examinations found that the 23-year-old mother, an ethnic woman, had Zika-like symptoms such as rashes and high fever during the second and third trimesters of her pregnancy.

Although the virus is not usually life-threatening, it has been linked to microcephaly in babies.

In April, two Vietnamese women became the first reported cases of the Zika virus in the Southeast Asian country.

A 64-year-old woman in Nha Trang and a pregnant 33-year-old in Ho Chi Minh City were confirmed to be Zika positive after at least three rounds of tests.

Earlier this year, Vietnam raised its alert against the virus after an Australian tourist tested positive after leaving the country on March 6, state media reported.

The Zika virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The World Health Organization said the virus has been linked to increased rates of microcephaly, which is characterized with abnormally small heads in babies born to infected mothers.

Zika has been prevalent in Asia, with infections confirmed in South Korea, Thailand and China.

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