HA NOI (VNS)— Heath authorities in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai are stepping up measures to prevent and control the spread of diseases while calling for the active co-operation from local communities.
Past experiences show that contagious diseases are likely to break out during the current transition of seasons in the mountainous province.
From the beginning of the year until the end of March, 37 cases of typhus were reported in Bat Xat District, while the same number of cases of hand-foot-mouth disease were reported in Sa Pa District. Sixty-three cases of parotitis were also reported in Bao Ha Commune in Bao Yen District.
The risk of people getting infected by the dangerous A/H5N1 and A/H7N9 strains of bird flu also posed a headache for local authorities.
The province is a centre of poultry trading and borders China, where the A/H7N9 is spreading widely and claimed 13 lives, .
Bui Thi Loc, director of the Lao Cai Centre for International Heath Quarantine, said the risk of the A/H7N9 virus spreading to Viet Nam via Lao Cai was very high, since thousands of Chinese and Vietnamese travel between the two countries on a daily basis.
The illegal transport of animal organs and poultry from China to Viet Nam, meanwhile, was still prevalent, said Loc.
She said strict supervision of travellers in the border areas must therefore be increased to minimise risks.
Nong Tien Cuong, director of the provincial Department of Health, said the authority had instructed relevant units to increase communications activities to raise public awareness on measures to stop the spread of diseases.
Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, deputy director of the provincial Preventive Medicine Centre, stressed the need to raise awareness on the issue among ethnic minority people living in remote and disadvantaged areas.
She said the roles of health officials in villages and communes, therefore, were very important in controlling diseases.
Recently, to prevent the spread of A/H7N9, the Lao Cai International Border Gate tasked officials from the Lao Cai Centre for International Heath Quarantine to conduct heath checks for tourists.
The border gate also installed an automatic thermometer to examine those with high fevers, which is a typical characteristic of the A/H7N9 virus. Officers at the border will quarantine those suspected of being infected. An automatic sterilisation machine has also been set up at the local Kim Thanh International Border Crossing to sterilise vehicles passing through. — VNS