Zika virus has reportedly hit Vietnam with first microcephaly surfacing

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Vietnam’s first case of microcephaly likely linked to the Zika virus has been confirmed.

Following the discovery of a four-month-old girl with an unusually small head in the Central Highland’s Dak Lak province earlier this month, authorities reported Sunday that the baby and mother both had antibodies consistent with the virus.

“This is the case of a child with congenital malformations symptoms, suffering from a small head, most likely related to the Zika virus,” read an official statement on the General Department of Preventive Medicine’s website.

Zika, although usually only presenting mild flu-like symptoms, has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly in newborn babies worldwide. The disease is believed to affect prenatal development in women infected with the virus.

While most infections have been reported in Latin America, Vietnam has diagnosed nine Zika infections in 2016.

VN News news site reported Oct. 20 that the situation in Ho Chi Minh City’s An Phu and Hiep Thanh communities, where five people have been infected, had been declared an epidemic by local authorities.

The government has recommended that pregnant women avoid inflicted areas of the country. The public has also been asked to destroy sources of standing water which serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying Zika.

Vietnam is the second country in Southeast Asia to report Zika-linked microcephaly. Thai authorities reported two cases in September.

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