|Volunteers clean the Binh Chanh residential area in Thu Duc District, HCM City. The city Preventive Health Centre yesterday asked localities to continue to monitor diseases, especially dengue fever. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh
HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City Preventive Health Centre yesterday instructed its officials around the city to continue to monitor diseases, especially dengue fever, because of the recent reappearance of the dengue serotype 2 (DEN-2) virus, which could cause serious outbreaks.
At a monthly meeting between the Department of Health and district health divisions, Nguyen Tri Dung, head of the centre, said three people had tested positive for DEN-2 in the last few months.
Most dengue fever cases last year had been caused by DEN-1, he said.
Unlike most diseases, people who contract the DEN-1 type of virus develop no immunity to DEN-2, according to health experts.
Dung said there were 6,935 cases of dengue last year, down from 7,490 the year before, but there was a 6 per cent spike year-on-year in December when 1,735 patients contracted the disease.
That month the districts of Binh Tan, Thu Duc, Tan Binh, and 8 saw the highest number of cases.
In contrast, the incidence of hand, foot and mouth disease increased last year but showed a downward trend in December, Dung said.
The city had provided free measles-rubella shots to 220,000 children aged between six and 10 in the December-January second phase of a campaign under the National Expanded Programme for Immunisation, he said.
This accounts for only 51 per cent of the target, he said, explaining that the low rate was because many parents in districts such as 9 are apprehensive about the new vaccine.
In the first phase, nearly 310,000 children aged 11-14 got the vaccine.
He urged district health officials to continue with the second phase this month, and a third phase for children aged one to six starting in February.
Health officials should strengthen communication about the safety of the new vaccine to reassure parents, he said.
The Ministry of Health has said that the vaccine causes no serious side-effects, he added. — VNS