Vietnam reports 232 Zika infection cases since 2016: ministry

HANOI, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam has reported a total of 219 Zika infection cases in 2016 and 13 new cases in 2017, bringing the total Zika cases nationwide since 2016 to 232, said the Ministry of Health (MoH) on Wednesday.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the MoH's General Department of Preventive Medicine, made the announcement at a conference held Wednesday in capital Hanoi on implementing disease prevention tasks in Vietnam in 2017.

According to a report by the department, most Zika patients in Vietnam were located in southern Ho Chi Minh City while one allegedly Zika-linked microcephaly case was reported in the country's Central Highlands' Dak Lak province.

Last year, Vietnam recorded 110,876 cases of dengue fever, 36 of whom were killed. Compared to 2015, the number of dengue infections went up 19 percent and the number of deaths plunged 33.3 percent.

Meanwhile, out of over 45,000 hand-foot-mouth infection cases, one was killed in 2016, posting a year-on-year decrease of 19.3 percent in infections and 83.3 percent in deaths.

In 2017, there is a high possibility that some diseases like bird flu, Ebola and MERS-CoV will enter or break out in Vietnam if the country fails to implement control and preventive measures, said the report.

At the same time, other endemic diseases including dengue fever, hand-foot-mouth, Zika, rabies, streptococcus and meningitis virus will pose a big challenge to Vietnam in reducing infection and death cases, Vietnam's state-run news agency VNA quoted the department as saying.

[ Editor:yfs001]