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Vietnam on high alert as HCMC reports 2 new Zika cases

By Nam Phuong   October 14, 2016 | 07:05 pm PT
Vietnam on high alert as HCMC reports 2 new Zika cases
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 6, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Alvin Baez/File Photo
Health officials say women who are planning for pregnancy must take extra caution.

The leading epidemiology institute Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City has just confirmed two new cases of Zika, bringing the total number of reported infections in Vietnam to seven.

The patients are in District 2 and 12. Both showed commonly seen symptoms of the mosquito-borne virus, including high fever and joint and muscle pain. Both are stable and being monitored by doctors at their home.

Vietnam has been on high alert since the first cases of the virus were confirmed in the country in April. Among the seven cases recorded so far, HCMC has four, followed by Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen with one case each.

Experts say there could be even more infections in the upcoming time. The Ministry of Health has told women who are planning for pregnancy to take extra caution and preventive measures.

Health officials have been working to prevent a potential outbreak, by testing a large number of blood samples, setting up quarantine zones and organizing mosquito control campaigns.

In July, Vietnam confirmed its third case of Zika in the central province of Phu Yen. In April, two Vietnamese women became the first confirmed cases of the virus in Khanh Hoa, also in the central region.

Authorities have also discovered a number of foreigners contracted with the Zika virus in recent months.

Zika is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Infections have been linked to the birth defect microcephaly and miscarriages, posing a significant threat to pregnant women, according to the World Health Organization.

There is currently no effective treatment for Zika and companies and scientists are racing to develop a vaccine. However, that is unlikely to be ready for widespread use for at least two or three years.

Related news:

> Zika virus threatens to spread to northern Vietnam

> Ho Chi Minh City to provide free Zika tests as virus spreads

> Foreigner confirmed as 5th Zika case in Vietnam

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