VOV.VN - When the link between Zika virus and birth defects first made headlines in Vietnam at the end of last year, many immediately worried about how this might affect Ho Chi Minh City. Now they are worrying more.
Central Da Nang city and Khanh Hoa province have been taking measures to fight dengue fever as infections are rising rapidly.
A new case of Zika infection has just been recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, the fifth in the city so far, triggering concern that more Zika cases are likely to appear in the southern hub.
Vietnam may have become the second Asian country, following Thailand, to report a case of microcephaly due to Zika contraction, with a four-month-old girl in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak showing signs of the birth defect.
The risk of infectious disease in Vietnam is still high, with cases of infection likely to increase from now to the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Health.
The number of dengue fever cases increased in Ho Chi Minh City in the week from September 9-15 with 563 cases recorded.
Mosquito-borne dengue fever is developing in a complex fashion in Phu Quoc and Kien Hai island districts in southern Kien Giang province as the rainy weather is favouring the growth of mosquitoes.
Singapore began launching a campaign to kill mosquitoes from August 29 after dozens of Zika-infected cases were confirmed in the country last week.
The southern central province of Khanh Hoa has recorded 3,430 dengue fever cases since the outset of 2016, shooting up 132 percent from a year earlier.
There is a risk of widespread dengue fever outbreak in Vietnam in the time ahead if no prompt actions are taken, said Dr. Phan Trong Lan, head of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute.
The central city of Danang should roll out communication campaigns on dengue fever prevention on a larger scale and with diverse methods, focusing on densely-populated areas.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has urged authorities in Central Highlands localities to keep a close watch on the development of dengue fever in the region.
A team from the Ministry of Health on August 5 inspected dengue fever prevention efforts in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, which is a hotbed of the mosquito-borne disease at present.
Central Highlands provinces have been urged to increase efforts to curb the spread of dengue fever as the number of patients in the region has risen to 6,038, including four dead, a 15-fold increase from 2015.
Nearly 45,000 people came down with dengue fever across Vietnam in the first seven months, a 260% increase from a year ago, local media has reported, citing new data released by the health ministry.
The health sector warned provinces and cities nationwide to be extra vigilant against dengue fever as risk of the return of the disease is high in rainy season, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Vietnam is facing a high risk of summer-related diseases such as flu, diarrhea, dengue fever, chicken-pox, rubella and meningitis, due to poor hygiene and unfavourable weather conditions.
Updated information on the latest development of Zika virus and response measures suitable with the situation was the focus of a meeting of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) held by the Ministry of Health on May 1.
Vietnam has so far recorded no cases related to Zika virus, which is now affecting 54 countries and territories worldwide, the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department announced on March 7.
The Preventive Health Centre in HCM City will continue its dengue-fever preventive programme this year as the city has seen a downward trend in the last two months.