The announcement was made on February 16 at a conference of the MoH Preventive Health Department that was focused on addressing preventive measures necessary to combat the Zika virus.
Speakers at the meeting also issued a health warning to local health departments, health-care providers and hospitals to further coordinate Zika-response efforts throughout the country saying that though no cases of the virus have been reported there is a high risk it will enter Vietnam.
“These actions will help us continue to ensure the safety of Vietnam residents and travellers visiting the country,” said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.
In addition, Long emphasized that strict supervision will be imposed on those at high risk of contacting the Zika virus by taking test samples, especially for women travelling from any of the 44 nations designated as affected-areas.
The MoH is recommending that pregnant women abstain from sex or use condoms during their pregnancies if their male partners have travelled to or live in areas with active Zika virus transmission.
Other women who have travelled to the areas also are urged to refrain from getting pregnant until tested.
All of the infected cases reported in the world to date involved patients who had travelled to countries where mosquito bites have been linked to the disease and a rare condition in which a new-born’s head is abnormally small, causing brain damage.
Long said 80% of the cases of Zika virus reported in the world have shown no clinical symptoms and it is very difficult to monitor and detect the first case in Vietnam.
The disease’s symptoms include headache, fever and rash.
A representative from the US Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) in attendance at the meeting, underscored the importance of strengthening supervision in regards to the Zika epidemic at Vietnam’s international border gates.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on February 1 declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus an international public health emergency due to its link to thousands of birth defects in Brazil.