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New epidemics threaten South

Update: February, 09/2012 - 10:26

HCM CITY — Flu, diarrhoea, dengue fever and hand-foot – mouth disease (HFMD) were the most prevalent among 28 infectious diseases found in the nation's southern region last year, health officials said at a meeting yesterday.

Speaking at a conference held at the HCM City Pasteur Institute to review infectious diseases prevention work carried out last year, they also said that this year, bird flu with A/H5N1 virus, and meningococcal disease have appeared as new threats.

In 20 southern provinces last year, the HCM City Pasteur Institute recorded 290,182 influenza infections, 187,576 diarrhoea patients, 67,396 HFMD cases, including 145 fatalities, and 60,418 dengue fever cases, including 59 deaths.

Most of the HFMD cases were found in southeastern area, especially the places with crowded populations such as HCM City and Dong Nai.

The reported cases of diarrhoea reduced nearly 21 per cent last year in comparison with 2010. Most of the infections were found in Dong Thap, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Ben Tre and Soc Trang provinces.

No patient tested positive for the H5N1 virus last year, according to the institute. Early this year, the disease claimed two deaths.

Swine flu claims 11 deaths

Among the infectious diseases that killed several people last year, the influenza A/H1N1 virus, or swine flu, was still spreading in some areas of Viet Nam, but it was not as serious as when it first appeared on May 30, 2009.

Tran Thanh Duong, deputy head of the Ministry of Health's Preventive Medicine Department, who chaired the conference, said the Influenza A/H1N1 virus was still widely prevalent in the country.

The task of monitoring and preventing a swine flu epidemic has been carried out well in five localities – HCM City, Dong Nai, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Lam Dong provinces – most vulnerable to the disease.

According to the Pasteur Institute, last year, the southern region recorded 427 infected cases of influenza A/H1N1 strain, type 2009.

Eleven people died of the disease. Of these, six were in HCM City and two in Ben Tre Province. One person each died of the disease in the provinces of Tien Giang, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang.

But the H1N1 vaccine has not been added to the national vaccination programme, since it was not deemed a great risk anymore, Duong said.

Tran Ngoc Huu, head of the HCM City Pasteur Institute, said at the conference that in general, epidemics had tended to reduce last year, except for diarrhoea, HFMD and dengue fever.

He expected that this year, all Influenza A/H5N1 cases would be found and treated in time; and that 90 per cent of epidemic clusters of influenza A/H1N1, type 2009, as well as HFMD, would be detected and treated. — VNS

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