Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Our Global Voices Posts

Vietnam: Increased Surveillance Leads to Detection of Zika Virus

Posted on by Niki Pham, MSc.
Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus.
Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus.

Vietnam EOC gathered for a briefing about the Zika virus. Along with WHO, CDC experts Anthony Mounts, Trang Do, Michael Johansson, and Leisha Nolen provided consultation during the meeting. CDC Vietnam will enhance surveillance and temperature monitoring at border control areas and alert pregnant women to be aware and report any signs and symptoms. The EOC will reconvene weekly to report updates.

Vietnam confirmed locally transmission of Zika virus in Vietnam, on April 4, 2016, which was not likely linked to the recent outbreaks in South and Central America.

In response to these recent outbreaks and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of Zika as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, Vietnam convened a national steering committee consisting of national and international experts including CDC and WHO, to prepare for Zika prevention and control in Vietnam. The committee recommended that Vietnam implement enhanced surveillance, which resulted in the recent detection of the two cases.

“A couple months ago, there was no meaningful test for the Zika virus in Vietnam and they were not actively looking for it. The discovery of these two cases is the result of increased surveillance from the advice of CDC and WHO,” said Anthony Mounts, MD, CDC Vietnam’s country director and director of Global Health Protection. Mounts has been working closely with the government of Vietnam and traveled to Nha Trang, where one of the patients lived.

After the detection of the cases, mosquito control measures have been stepped up in the area where the cases were identified, surveillance has been increased across the country, and communication materials and messages have been widely circulated to warn pregnant women and women of childbearing age to take precautions to protect themselves. 

Expanded Network of Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) Enhances Monitoring and Coordination for Zika Response

In addition to increased surveillance for priority infectious diseases, CDC’s Global Health Security Program in Vietnam has ramped up support to enhance Vietnam’s emergency management and outbreak response systems. One of the main CDC Global Health Security activities is establishing a network of EOCs throughout the country that serve as hubs to collect and analyze surveillance data and to quickly contain emerging threats, such as the Zika virus. CDC currently supports a centrally located EOC in Hanoi at the Ministry of Health, and recently built a regional EOC at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, responsible for the northern region in Vietnam. Three more EOCs in the central and southern regions of Vietnam are in the pipeline.

Before detecting the first two cases, the Ministry of Health had raised the alert level to “2”— using their EOC to monitor the Zika outbreak in South and Central America (and also previously used to monitor the outbreaks of Ebola and MERS-CoV). With the recent detection of the Zika cases, the regional EOC in Hanoi is being used as a central hub for monitoring the situation and coordinating response.

Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) Resident Develops Zika “Data Dashboard’ for EOC Network

Tu Anh Tran, MD, a current FETP resident in Vietnam’s sixth cohort of FETP in Vietnam, plays an instrumental role in strengthening Vietnam’s capacity to better monitor for potential disease outbreaks. He has been leading the way to digitally display the trends and analyses of priority infectious diseases in Vietnam.

Through FETP, a 2-year program to train “disease detectives” to respond to disease outbreaks, Tran participated in hands-on training courses where he learned disease modeling techniques that display and project disease outbreak information and disease trends. The “data dashboard” is currently being deployed in the EOC network for Zika virus, severe viral pneumonia, dengue, avian influenza, and hand foot and mouth disease. It is a critical component of Vietnam’s EOC network and enables early disease outbreaks detection, effective outbreak response, and information sharing with national and international partners.

Although Zika virus is likely endemic and transmission is thought to be sporadic, the government of Vietnam is diligently implementing all necessary precautions to increase Zika surveillance and prevention efforts.

Posted on by Niki Pham, MSc.Leave a commentTags , ,

Vietnam: Empowering Communities to Detect Potential Outbreaks Early

Diseases may start in local communities before they spread and become widespread outbreaks. Vietnam is harnessing the power of community members to identify potential outbreaks earlier to shorten response times and avert epidemics. A parent hears rumors from other parents about several children bitten by a rabid dog. A teacher sees an unusually high number Read More >

Posted on by Niki Pham, MSc.Leave a commentTags , ,

A Ray of Hope for a Better-Prepared Ethiopia

Working alongside an EIS officer and an FETP resident on an investigation in Konso, Ethiopia, 2015.

I have called Ethiopia home for the past five years – it is a country that is very close to my heart. I was moved to humanitarian work by images of the famine when I was in college and subsequently adopted my daughter from here. As we face our worst drought in 50 years, I Read More >

Posted on by Lucy Boulanger, DGHP Program Director, EthiopiaLeave a commentTags ,

When It Was Even Scarier

Dr. Anne Schuchat with her mother Molly G Schuchat

This blog originally appeared on The Huffington Post on April 29, 2016 Four score and seven years ago, my mother was born into an America swarming with pathogens. Many were simply known as diseases of childhood; not all children survived them. My mother remembers how her family suffered when a cousin died during infancy from Read More >

Posted on by Anne Schuchat, MDLeave a commentTags , , , ,

Global Immunization: 50 Years of Work, Humanity, and Success

With her head tilted back, the picture depicts a young Nigerian girl, as she was holding her mouth wide open in order to receive her dose of orally-administered polio vaccine. This activity was taking place during Nigeria’s National - Stop Transmission of Polio Program (N-STOP), which is a refined and specialized offspring of two larger programs that train disease detectives: the (international) STOP program, and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program. N-STOP is a key element in Nigeria’s effort to rid the country of this crippling disease.

This blog was originally posted on on April 26, 2016. Government is a creature of numbers and statistics, a generator of such vast quantities of data and reports that it’s hard to appreciate sometimes the full human dimension of what it takes to protect everyone from vaccine-preventable diseases. That reality comes to mind as Read More >

Posted on by Rebecca Martin, PhD, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Global HealthLeave a commentTags , , ,

The “Ride” To Eliminating Malaria In Haiti

Malaria Zero has one bold goal: to eliminate malaria from the island of Hispaniola, which includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic, by 2020.

CDC works with Haiti and the Dominican Republic to eliminate malaria by 2020. #endmalaria #WMD2016 Tweet This The town of Dame Marie on the southwestern tip of Haiti, is 225 miles from the country’s teeming, chaotic capital Port-au-Prince. But getting there by car—on a good day—can easily take eight hard-fought, kidney-bashing, hairpin-turning hours. That may Read More >

Posted on by Michelle Chang, MD, Medical Epidemiologist/Director of Malaria ZeroLeave a commentTags , , , , ,

World TB Day 2016

TB meeting in country

This blog was originally posted on Huffington Post on March 24, 2016. Today on World TB Day – more than a century after the scientific discovery of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB), TB continues to be one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases and among the leading causes of death worldwide. That TB Read More >

Posted on by Dr. Shannon Hader, Director, Division of Global HIV & TB, CDCLeave a commentTags

World Birth Defects Day Raises Global Awareness of Birth Defects


Every year, an estimated 3%–6% of infants worldwide are born with a serious birth defect. Birth defects can affect an infant regardless of birthplace, race, or ethnicity. In some countries, birth defects remain one of the leading causes of death for infants and young children. Those who survive and live with these conditions are at Read More >

Posted on by Pamela Costa, MS, CDC Division of Congenital and Developmental DisordersLeave a commentTags ,

Malawi’s Approach to Treating Pregnant Women With HIV Shows Success

Mothers with Babies © Robin Wyatt

Malawi is a place where good news can be hard to find, especially when the topic is improving people’s health. That’s why recent news from Malawi, detailed Tuesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, is both noteworthy and promising. As outlined in a paper presented at the prestigious conference by CDC Read More >

Posted on by Sundeep Gupta, MD, MPH, CDC Country Director for Malawi, and Beth Tippet-Barr, Division of Global AIDS/HIV and TBLeave a commentTags , , , , ,

President Obama’s Call to Accelerate Battle Against Malaria Builds on Impressive Gains

A home in Zambia using a bed net to prevent mosquito bites and therefore prevent malaria transmission. Bed nets have been shown to reduce malaria illness, severe disease, and death due to malaria in regions where the disease persists.

Malaria is a public health issue that has always been one of our highest priorities. Tweet This President Obama’s call to arms to end malaria worldwide as announced during his recent State of the Union address and the Administration’s request to increase resources for malaria control, underscore the remarkable progress made in the fight against Read More >

Posted on by Laurence Slutsker, MD, MPH, Director of CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases and MalariaLeave a commentTags , , , , , , ,