Zika virus spreads to Vietnam with first 2 confirmed cases

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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, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Alvin Baez 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, March 6, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Alvin Baez

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Vietnam’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed the country’s first two infections of the Zika virus in Ho Chi Minh City and the central resort town Nha Trang.
The Nha Trang patient is a 64-year-old woman who started having a fever on March 26. She also suffered from headache and conjunctivitis and developed rashes.
She went to hospital after taking medicine at home for two days and did not get better.
Test results from the Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang on March 31 and April 1 both confirmed that she was infected with the Zika virus.
The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemology in Hanoi took another test and confirmed the result Monday.
The institute on the same day said another patient from Ho Chi Minh City was tested positive. 
The 33-year-old woman living in District 2 developed symptoms including rashes, fatigue and conjunctivitis on March 29. Two consecutive tests from the district’s general hospital found she was infected with the virus.
Both patients are stable. Initial tests on their family members and neighbors have all come back negative.
High alert
Vietnam has stepped up preventive measures for the virus after an Australian tourist tested positive after leaving the country on March 6.
The person arrived in Vietnam on February 26 and traveled through Ho Chi Minh City and the central resort towns Da Lat, Nha Trang and Mui Ne. It has not confirmed whether the tourist was infected in or outside Vietnam.
Aedes aegypti mosquito has been identified as the main vector of the virus. It is also known for carrying the dengue, yellow fever and Chikungunya viruses.
Zika was first detected in Africa in 1947 when it was considered a relatively mild disease until the current outbreak started in Brazil in May 2015.
The virus has since spread to more than 60 countries and territories, including many in the region such as Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea.
Brazil, Venezuela and Columbia each has linked three deaths to the Zika virus.
Brazil has also confirmed 944 cases of microcephaly and at least 198 babies with the birth defect who have died since October last year, Reuters reported.

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