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A doctor examines a child with dengue fever at the General Hospital of Tien Giang province (Photo: VNA)
Ministry takes measures against summer infectious diseases

Dengue prevention measures discussed

         A dengue patient who was recently brought from the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Tropical Diseases went into shock in the ambulance.

When the vehicle reached the hospital after a drive of several hours, doctors said it was too late to save the victim, Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, Director of the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases, told a workshop o­n July 20 in HCM City o­n improving prevention and treatment of dengue fever.

The patient was o­ne of three to die while being "unsafely" brought from their local hospitals to the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases, he said.

"In such cases, doctors at the local hospital should not send patients with severe dengue to the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases. They should instead call our hospital's hotline to get advice o­n how they should treat."

The hospital would guide them and send doctors to the hospital in question to help treat the patient, and this would help reduce the deaths caused by dengue, he said.

Dr Hoang Van Tuyet, vice director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, said similarly two patients had died o­n the way to his hospital.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Ministry of Health's Medical Examination and Treatment Department, said the ministry would instruct health departments around the country to regulate such transfers between hospitals.

The National Hospital of Tropical Diseases should set up a hotline for hospitals in Hanoi and the northern region to provide professional assistance, he said.

Hospitals should also follow the ministry's guidelines o­n diagnosis, treatment and emergency aid for dengue patients to reduce fatalities, he said.

One 19-year-old patient was diagnosed with the disease but not treated based o­n the guidelines, leading to shock and death, he added.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long warned that the disease would see an upward trend in the next few months.

More and more people would probably contract it and hospitals have to improve their capacity to treat it, he said.

They should take the initiative and call higher-level hospitals that have experience in treating it - such as paediatrics and tropical diseases hospitals - for professional advice before deciding to transfer their patients there, he said.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the ministry's Preventive Health Department, said 57,492 cases of dengue have been reported in the country this year, 9.7 percent higher year-on-year. Fifteen patients have died, Phu said.

HCM City, Hanoi, Da Nang and the provinces of Binh Duong, Khanh Hoa, An Giang, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Soc Trang, and Tien Giang have reported the highest number of cases.

Dr Phung Duc Nhat, deputy head of HCM City Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, said usually heavy rains start in May, leading to dengue fever breaking out in July and lasting until October.

"However, there were many heavy showers in February this year, so the incidence of dengue has increased since May," he added.

Ministry proposes measures against rainy season diseases

         The Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health has proposed measures to prevent diseases during the rainy season.

According to the department, when heavy rains and floods affect the country in July, it is the peak time for epidemic diseases such as petechial fever, malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, flu and red eyes. Microorganism, dust, garbage and waste overflow and cause pollution and diseases.

 Spraying chemical to prevent dengue fever.

The health sector will promote supervision and early detection of disease outbreaks while giving timely treatment to patients to prevent infections. Along with increasing the number of people receiving vaccines, especially encephalitis and rabies vaccine injections, the sector also works to diversify supply sources to ensure sufficient vaccines.

The MoH recommends local people ensure food safety and hygiene, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and promote hand washing with soap to prevent virus-based diseases. Parents must have their children vaccinated enough as scheduled.

Summer always sees complex developments of infectious diseases such as influenza, dengue fever, rabies and hand-foot-mouth diseases.

According to a report from the General Department of Preventive Medicine, the country recorded over 45,000 cases of dengue fever in the first six months of the year, up 0.3 percent year-on-year. A high rate of dengue fever was recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Binh Duong, Hanoi, Dong Nai, An Giang, Dong Thap and Khanh Hoa.

As many as 367 people contracted viral encephalitis, of whom ten died in the period, up 0.8 percent in infection cases and down three cases in death toll compared to the same period last year. There were 62 cases of Japanese encephalitis, a year-on-year surge of 11.4 percent.

Although no H7N9, H5N6 and H5N1 avian flu infections have been reported in human, some hotbeds of A/H5N1 in poultry were seen in some provinces.

Meanwhile, 35 people died of rabies as they did not go to medical clinics for necessary vaccines after being bitten by dogs.



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