Updated  
April, 24 2014 09:12:00

Provinces report no new measles cases

The country has recorded 3,527 cases of measles since the beginning of the year across 61 out of the country's 63 provinces and cities. — VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— No measles fatalities were reported in Viet Nam over the past two days, while new cases were on the decline, according to the Preventive Health Department under the Ministry of Public Health.

Thirteen out of the 61 provinces and cities hit by measles reported no new cases of the disease on Tuesday, including Bac Kan, Ha Tinh, Dien Bien, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, and Long An.

Vaccinations against the virus saw a good response, with 25 provinces posting a rate of over 70 per cent coverage.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday demanded that government agencies ensure there were enough workers, medicines and equipment to eliminate the outbreaks of measles.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking at a working session with relevant ministries, agencies and Ha Noi authorities, asked the Ministry of Public Health to hold communications campaigns to raise public awareness of the disease and the need for vaccination.

He noted that while new cases had fallen, the number of infected patients was still large. What was even more worrying was that the vaccination rate was less than 50 per cent in 11 provinces.

Health Ministry inspectors are visiting provinces and cities across the country to examine the implementation of preventive measures and vaccination campaigns.

At a working session with authorities in the northern province of Hai Duong on Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long urged the province to monitor the outbreak, particularly in high risk areas such as schools, nurseries and heavily populated areas, while taking measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday demanded that government agencies ensure there were enough workers, medicines and equipment to eliminate the outbreaks of measles.— VNA/VNS Photo

The province was instructed to encourage local citizens to have their children vaccinated against the disease, which was the most effective way of stopping it from spreading.

Vice chairman of the provincial People's Committee, Nguyen Van Que, said the province had a plan to provide free measles vaccinations for children between 9-24 months and had earmarked funds to buy equipment essential for treating the disease.

Le Thanh Liem, director of the southern province of Long An's Health Department, said local authorities had taken drastic measures to fight the disease by monitoring the outbreak and preventing it from spreading while raising public awareness and sterilising health clinics.

At a conference to evaluate the ongoing outbreak held by the Health Ministry on Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen reiterated that vaccinations were the most effective way of preventing measles.

The major reasons behind the current outbreak in Viet Nam were low vaccination rates and humid weather conditions that allowed respiratory diseases to spread quickly, Xuyen said.

No mutation in the strain of the measles virus had been detected, confirmed the conference, and most fatalities resulted from pneumonia connected to measles.

Deputy director of the Ha Noi Health Department, Hoang Duc Hanh, said though the outbreak was showing signs of stopping, preventive measures against the disease were still essential.

The department asked the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to provide 20,000 doses of measles vaccine for children aged 2-6 years old in the city by April 30, he said.

The country has recorded 3,527 cases of measles since the beginning of the year across 61 out of the country's 63 provinces and cities. The measles outbreak has so far claimed 119 lives nationwide, including 25 fatalities caused directly by the disease. — VNS

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