VietNamNet Bridge – The Health Ministry has instructed localities to be vigilant over the spread of a potentially fatal virus that is similar to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
The so-called Corona virus has already caused six deaths around the globe.
A new case infected by the virus that was reported in the UK last week brought the global number of patients to 12, according to a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The five deaths were recorded in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UK.
“Viet Nam has yet to detect any cases of people infected by the virus,” said deputy head of the ministry’s preventive medicine department Tran Thanh Duong.
However, the ministry has trained medical staff on how to handle the disease and instructed health departments at localities to be ready to cope with any cases, he said.
Health departments of localities were also asked to increase surveillance to discover suspected cases. Suspect samples will be sent to either the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology or Pasteur Institutes for testing.
“Public awareness about the virus needs to be raised,” Duong said.
The Corona virus causes respiratory infections in humans and animals. Patients show symptoms of fever, cough and breathing difficulties. It causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure.
Britain’s Health Protection Agency has said that while it appears the virus can spread from person to person, “the risk of infection in contacts in most circumstances is still considered to be low.”
The health ministry has released guidelines on preventing outbreaks of the disease, including advice on avoiding contact with patients with severe acute respiratory disease, and keeping living and work places clean while also washing hands with soap.
The first case of Corona virus was detected in the Middle East last year. The disease is part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS. In 2003, a global outbreak of SARS killed about 800 people worldwide.