Zika cases rise to 62 in Ho Chi Minh City; virus hits 16 districts

The number of Zika cases in Ho Chi Minh City has risen to 62 as of Sunday, health officials said, adding that five new patients have been confirmed

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. Picture taken March 6, 2016.

The five new cases include one in Go Vap District, two in Tan Binh District, and two in Binh Thanh District.

Binh Thanh has the highest number of confirmed Zika patients with 13, followed by District 2 with 10. The Zika virus has now hit 16 out of 24 districts in Ho Chi Minh City.

Eight new cases were diagnosed in the city between November 17 and 20.

There has been no official warning against traveling to places affected by the virus but everyone, especially pregnant women, is advised to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, according to the city’s preventive medicine center.

Zika is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquitoes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

People with Zika can exhibit symptoms including a mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache that normally lasts between two and seven days, the WHO said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that the virus can be transmitted via two species of mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus, both infamous for spreading dengue, chikungunya, and other known viruses.

According to the WHO, there is scientific consensus that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly in infants, a birth defect characterized by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems, and Guillain-Barré syndrome – a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.

Links to other neurological complications are being investigated, a representative of the WHO added.

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