Global health experts discuss prevention of zoonotic diseases in Da Nang

This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Public Health (MoH) Trinh Quan Huan at a conference on the Lower Mekong Initiative to deal with infectious diseases, which was jointly held by the MoH and the US Embassy in Vietnam. Infectious diseases, especially new unfamiliar ones, can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, said the Deputy Minister, noting that many diseases which have been put under control are likely to break out again. Epidemics are expected to see a sharp increase in 2010 compared to previous years. There are warnings about a bird flu occurring in Vietnam if the worse comes to the worse. The high risk is posed by the A/H1N1 and A/H5N1 strains while cholera is threatening to spread this summer. Reports at the conference focused on two major subjects: implementation of international health regulations requiring the exchange of information on infectious diseases in the region; and counterfeit or inferior-quality drugs used for treatment of infectious diseases. The two-day conference drew medical experts and doctors from Vietnam, the USA, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia.... [read more]

WHO conference to open in Hanoi GOs, NGOs discuss social welfare and development Addressing the 63rd session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, which opened in Hanoi on September 24, Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director, said: "We continue to implement innovative approaches to increase efficiency and to sharpen focus on the challenges that you—our Member States—have told us are your priorities.” He emphasised the main focus of making a difference where it matters most at country level. In his statement presented at the session, Dr Shin summed up his report to the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, the regional governing body, on the Organization's work over the past year. The Regional Committee, composed of representatives from the Western Pacific's 37 countries and areas, meets once a year to review WHO's work in the Region and to determine future directions. "WHO needs to be more nimble to adapt to rapidly changing realities, not only in public health, but also social and economic situations," Dr Shin said. "This requires that WHO's assistance be tailored-made for individual countries." This approach can be seen in the Western Area Health Initiative, which aims to reduce health inequities in western China through a comprehensive strategy to boost economic and social development, targeting the most vulnerable communities. In addition, WHO has supported the Governments of the Philippines and Viet Nam in their efforts on universal health coverage to bring health services to the country's poor. “We focused over the…... [read more]

Addressing the seminar, the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department Deputy Director Dang Quang Tuan highlighted recent cooperative efforts of preventing the spread of infectious diseases among the health ministries. Tuan shared experiences between the nations on health quarantine under the bilateral agreement and the International Health Regulations. Delegates also proposed solutions and plans to cope with contagious diseases, especially Ebola epidemic in the time ahead. Mr Ngu Duy Nghia from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) said Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have to face the outbreak of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, avian influenza, measles, plague, hand-foot and-mouth disease. There have been only 27 quarantine stations along a 3,000 km of borderline of the three nations, leading to difficulties to control diseases. The spread of diseases has been attributed to the expanded exchange among regional nations, urbanisation, globalisation and climate change and public awareness about food safety and hygiene. Phan Cong Hung from HCM City’s Pasteur Institute said there has not in the past been strong co-ordination among provinces with common borderline to implement health quarantine work at international border gates. Delegates agreed upon an action plan for infectious disease prevention, especially the Ebola epidemics at border gates. They also proposed the regular exchange of information on the diseases through email, enhanced capacity for health quarantine system and organise periodical meetings to assess the implementation of signed agreements.... [read more]

The guidelines suggest pregnant women be tested for the virus if they are in the first three months of pregnancy, live in or visited Zika-hit areas, and have their husbands and sexual partners tested positive for Zika, or if they develop symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis and fatigue. Those who tested positive for Zika should seek treatment based on ultrasound results, the manual said. The central city of Da Nang is on high alert for a possible Zika outbreak at a time when the first two cases of the Zika virus were reported in central Khanh Hoa province and Ho Chi Minh City. All hospitals in the locality are now standing ready for Zika treatment, although the city has confirmed no cases of the virus so far. The municipal health sector also encouraged locals to eliminate hotbeds of mosquitoes and larvae that may carry the Zika virus while organising training courses for health workers on symptoms of Zika as well as how to cope with an outbreak. The Da Nang Centre for Preventive Medicine sent 16 samples taken from patients with fevers to the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute for testing. The municipal Health Department called for efforts to increase the measurement of body temperatures of domestic and foreign passengers at the Da Nang International Airport and Tien Sa Seaport. Ton That Thanh, the centre’s director, said Da Nang is facing a high risk of the Zika virus as the city welcomes a large crowd of domestic and foreign visitors…... [read more]

Vietnam, U.S. team up for disease fighting Tu Hoang By Tu Hoang - The Saigon Times Daily HANOI – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the Emerging Pandemic Threats 2 (EPT-2) program to support Vietnam to better prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. This program is closely aligned with the key objectives of the governments’ partnership on the Global Health Security Agenda and Vietnam’s adoption of the International Health Regulations. The EPT-2 program has built on cooperation and partnerships over the past decade among USAID and its partners, including successes on avian influenza, to preempt or combat newly emerging diseases at their sources, including those of animal origin. EPT-2 will help more than 20 focus countries in Africa and Asia detect viruses with pandemic potential, improve laboratory capacity to back surveillance, strengthen national and local capacities to respond in an appropriate and timely manner, and provide education on ways to prevent exposure to these dangerous pathogens. USAID Vietnam Mission Director Joakim Parker said infectious diseases are still among the foremost dangers to human health and the global economy. “The EPT-2 program supports Vietnam’s efforts to protect us all against infectious disease threats and contribute to global health security,” he said. The USAID program is being implemented in Vietnam with technical collaboration from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization and with partners in three new project areas - Predict 2, One Health Workforce,…... [read more]

The World Health Organization updated its assessment of the Zika virus on Wednesday as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome, after considering months of research into the mosquito-borne disease. "The most likely explanation of available evidence from outbreaks of Zika virus infection and clusters of microcephaly is that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of congenital brain abnormalities including microcephaly," the WHO said. It was also most likely that Zika was a trigger of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), it added. The WHO's previous statement in March, based on a rapid assessment of evidence, said: "Based on observational, cohort and case-control studies there is strong scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of GBS, microcephaly and other neurological disorders." Source: Reuters... [read more]

No case suspected of carrying Zika virus has been detected in District 7, HCM City, since a Republic of Korea (RoK) woman was found with Zika virus on her return home from the city. The municipal Preventive Medicine Centre said it has not detected any suspected Zika cases in the past month, both at the RoK patient’s residence and workplace. From April 10 - April 30, 2016, the patient worked at the RoK International School in Tan Phu ward, District 7 and registered her temporary residence in the Sky Garden 2 residential area in Phu My Hung, District 7. After being bitten by mosquitoes, she broke out in a rash on April 28. After learning about the case from the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, the municipal Preventive Medicine Centre coordinated with the District 7’s preventive medicine centre to carry out epidemiological and environmental inspections at the patient’s workplace and residence but found no mosquitoes or larvae. The MoH said it would continue to closely work with the RoK’s International Health Regulations agency to verify other relevant information to assist the identification of the source of epidemic. In early April, a Zika case was detected in Thanh My Loi ward, District 2. But on April 22, the city declared the end of the epidemic at ward level given that no new case was found. The MoH advised the public to take proactive measures to keep them away from mosquitoes and to kill mosquitoes and larvae as well as to…... [read more]

The General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health on May 9 received additional information on a woman from the RoK who tested positive for the Zika virus after visiting Vietnam. The department contacted the Korean authorised agency focused on international health regulations to request more information. The patient is reported to work at the Korea International School at No. 21 Tan Phu, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City and resided in the district’s Sky Garden 2 urban area from April 10 to April 30. According to the Vietnamese department, the 25-year-old woman got a rash on April 28 after being bitten by mosquitoes. She returned to the RoK on May 1 and tested positive on May 7 when she visited the Catholic University of Korea Incheon St. Mary’s hospital in the western city of Incheon. The woman is suspected to have contracted Zika in Vietnam as the country found one of two Zika cases in Thanh My Loi commune, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City in early April. The Vietnamese health ministry has directed the HCM City’s Pasteur Institute and Department of Health to inspect the case while implementing anti-disease measures where the patient worked and lived. The ministry confirmed it would work with its Korean counterpart to investigated the incident. People are warned to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites and spray chemicals to eliminate mosquitoes and larvae. People coming and going from Zika-hit regions need to keep an eye on their health for…... [read more]

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and tourism has asked local authorities and enterprises to strictly monitor the development of Zika virus and inform travelers about current health issues. It required relevant ministries and localities to provide businesses and visitors with preventive measures as guided by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health cited the World Health Organization (WHO) to warn pregnant women to consider travel to the infected areas. The first two Zika virus cases have been reported in HCM City and central Khanh Hoa province. However, no travel restrictions have been imposed. Earlier, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) asked international travel agencies to warn visitors to limit travel to the 24 infected nations in Latin America. Guidelines issued for pregnant women amidst Zika outbreak The Ministry of Health on April 6 issued a temporary manual guiding pregnant women on how to take care of themselves amid the circulation of the Zika virus. The guidelines suggest pregnant women be tested for the virus if they are in the first three months of pregnancy, live in or visited Zika-hit areas, and have their husbands and sexual partners tested positive for Zika, or if they develop symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis and fatigue. Those who tested positive for Zika should seek treatment based on ultrasound results, the manual said. The central city of Da Nang is on high alert for a possible Zika outbreak at a time when the first two cases of the Zika virus were reported…... [read more]

Passengers’ body temperature is monitored at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has raised the warning level for the Zika virus following the information about an Australian visitor who tested positive for Zika after returning from the Southeast Asian nation. The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s International Health Regulations (IHR) agency informed Vietnam’s national agency for IHR implementation about the case on March 22, said the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine. The Australian visitor stayed in Vietnam from February 26 to March 6 and travelled to Ho Chi Minh City, Lam Dong, Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces during that time. After returning to Australia, the person showed some symptoms of Zika infection such as fever, rash, headache, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and nausea. Also on March 22, the Vietnamese IHR agency and the Health Ministry’s emergency operations centre contacted the WHO agency and Australia IHR to ask for more detailed information about the Zika-positive person’s activities in Vietnam. The health ministry does not exclude the possibility that the Australian contracted the virus before arriving in or after leaving Vietnam. The Preventive Medicine Department noted shortly after receiving the WHO agency’s notification, the ministry sent staff to Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan to make verification and instruct tightening Zika prevention measures. Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long ordered medical establishments in the four localities to increase Zika testing as persons with the mosquito-borne virus could show light or no symptoms.…... [read more]