HCMC declares Zika pandemic

By VnExpress   October 20, 2016 | 10:06 am GMT+7
HCMC declares Zika pandemic
An Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector of the Zika virus, is studied at a laboratory in Colombia. Photo by Reuters

The city has confirmed 5 cases of Zika virus.

Ho Chi Minh City announced Vietnam's fifth confirmed case of Zika virus during a meeting on Wednesday after it had declared a pandemic in An Phu Commune, District 2 and Hiep Thanh Commune, District 12 the previous day. Officials said the most recent patient lives in District 5 and raises Vietnam's total number of Zika cases to nine.

Prior to the conference, city officials had reported two Zika cases in District 2 and two others in Districts 9 and 12.

Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the municipal health department, said populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a carrier of the Zika virus, have boomed in the seasonal rains.

The species is also a vector for yellow and dengue fevers.

The city reported over 14,000 dengue cases this year, up 19 percent from a year ago, according to figures from the department.

Binh said the city's outlying districts of Binh Chanh, Hoc Mon and Thu Duc face grave risks of outbreaks of mosquito-borne illness.

Medical technicians began collecting blood samples since the first Zika case was reported in April. Ho Chi Minh City's 30 public hospitals have collected and sent nearly 800 blood samples to the Pasteur Institute in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

Vietnam has reported Zika infections in HCMC, Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen Provinces.

A four-month-old girl suffering from Zika-related microcephaly was recently reported in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak; officials say her mother contracted the virus during pregnancy. Vietnamese doctors are still waiting for final test results to confirm whether the birth defect is related to the virus. Doctors are also reviewing the cause of microcephaly in two other children (aged four and seven years). Health officials say the most likely cause, in those cases, was the Rubella virus.

Thailand reported two cases of Zika-related microcephaly in late September; the announcement represented the first cases in Southeast Asia.

According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, the Zika virus is circulating in at least 70 countries and territories.

There have been more than 2,000 babies born with Zika-related microcephaly or other birth defects around the world, according to the latest WHO report. Brazil has reported over 1,800 cases of Zika-related microcephaly; the U.S. has reported 23.

Related news:

>Vietnam reports first likely Zika-related microcephaly case

>Vietnam on high alert as HCMC reports 2 new Zika cases

>Zika virus mosquitoes detected in central Vietnam

 
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