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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.Tags , ,

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