The Vietnamese Ministry of Health on Wednesday issued a temporary manual, guiding pregnant women on how to take care of themselves amid the circulation of the Zika virus, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

The guidelines suggest pregnant women be tested for the virus if they are in the first three months of pregnancy, live in or visited Zika-hit areas, and have their husbands and sexual partners tested positive for Zika, or if they develop symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis and fatigue.

Those who tested positive should seek treatment based on ultrasound results, the manual said.

The central city of Da Nang is on high alert for a possible Zika outbreak at a time when the first two cases were reported in central Khanh Hoa province and Ho Chi Minh City.

All hospitals in the locality are now standing ready for Zika treatment, although the city has confirmed no cases of the virus so far.

The municipal health sector also encouraged locals to eliminate hotbeds of mosquitoes and larvae that may carry the Zika virus while organising training courses for health workers on the symptoms as well as how to cope with an outbreak.

The Da Nang Centre for Preventive Medicine sent 16 samples taken from patients with fever to the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute for testing.

The municipal Health Department called for efforts to increase the measurement of body temperatures at the Da Nang International Airport and Tien Sa Seaport.

Ton That Thanh, the centre’s director, said Da Nang is facing a high risk of the Zika virus as the city welcomes a large crowd of domestic and foreign visitors every day, and records an average of 50 dengue patients each week.

Therefore, the local health sector has strengthened its inspection at tourist sites and residential areas, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health has allowed Da Nang to conduct tests for Zika instead of sending samples to relevant agencies in order to promptly detect the virus.

In the central province of Binh Thuan, working groups have been set up to check water containers in local households and raise public awareness of measures to prevent Zika.

Two patients, one in Ho Chi Minh City and the other in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa, have tested positive for Zika, Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health Tran Dac Phu announced Tuesday.

Check-ups on the patients’ family members and residents in the neighbourhood so far revealed no other infections.

Both patients are in stable health conditions.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s International Health Regulations (IHR) agency informed its counterpart in Vietnam for IHR implementation after an Australian tourist tested positive for Zika on March 22, said the Department of Preventive Medicine.

The Australian visitor stayed in Vietnam from Feb 26 to March 6 and travelled to Ho Chi Minh City, Lam Dong, Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces during that time.

After returning to Australia, the person showed some symptoms of Zika infection such as fever, rash, headache, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and nausea.