HCM CITY — A fourth person in the country has contracted avian influenza A/H5N1 this year, as HCM City health officials confirmed yesterday that a 31-year-old native of the Central Highlands was in critical condition after being admitted to the city's Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
Tran Ngoc Huu, director of the HCM City Pasteur Institute, said the patient was admitted to the hospital on Monday.
The hospital is treating the patient according to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, as has done for the previous patient who had contracted the virus. He was admitted in critical condition also, but was recently discharged.
Dr Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy head of the hospital, said the patient was being treated in an isolated room.
The hospital said the 31 year-old patient was admitted with a high fever and serious respiratory problems. After using medicine bought at the pharmacy for three days after getting a fever, the patient's health worsened.
The patient's family members had slaughtered several chicken and eaten them, according to hospital officials. Several chickens on their farm had died, but the family was unaware of the cause of death.
The three other people this year who contracted the bird-flu virus were all residents of the Mekong Delta region. Two of them died.
Warning on hand-foot-mouth
In a related healthcare matter, the number of cases of hand–foot –mouth disease had increased rapidly in 211 wards and communes of HCM City, according to health officials.
An outbreak is likely to occur in the city, said Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy head of the HCM City Preventive Medicine Centre, during a meeting held yesterday at the city's Health Department.
According to a report from the centre, every week the city adds more than 140 new cases. Since early this year, the city's hospitals have received 963 people with the disease, with one of them dying.
The number of children with the disease has continued to increase as city health officials recorded 498 cases in February alone, a fivefold increase compared with the same period last year, and a 14 per cent increase against January.
Tho issued a warning that an outbreak could occur this month, and urged the entire health sector to develop measures to prevent an epidemic.
Six inspection teams will be set up this month to check prevention efforts at health agencies at the district and ward levels. — VNS