More than 300 pediatric patients were diagnosed with seasonal flu at the National Hospital of Paediatrics in the first two weeks of the year. — Photo vtv.vn
HÀ NỘI — The number of people, especially children, seeking treatment for the seasonal flu virus at hospitals has been on the rise. Luckily, no new influenza virus has been found so far, the Ministry of Health has said.
In many central and provincial hospitals, the number of patients suffering from flu has increased due to the cold weather with high humidity—favourable conditions for the development of the flu virus. In Việt Nam, the common seasonal flu viruses are influenza A/H3N2, A/H1N1 and influenza flu type B.
More than 300 pediatric patients were diagnosed with seasonal flu at the National Hospital of Paediatrics in the first two weeks of the year. Most were hospitalised with high fever, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat or bronchitis.
In Hải Dương Province Children’s Hospital, as many as 300 patients were hospitalised for flu. On average, ten patients have suffered from influenza flu type A every day since early last month.
Dr Nguyễn Đức Hùng, deputy director of Hải Dương Province Children’s Hospital, said that weather changes increased the proportion of patients infected with influenza.
Associate Professor Trần Đắc Phu, director of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, said that the country recorded between one million and 1.8 million cases of influenza annually, mainly due to strains of influenza flu type A/H3N2, A/H1N1 and B in the past ten years.
The number of patients this year was not significantly higher than in previous years.
Luckily, no new strains of influenza virus, which could increase toxicity or cause resistance to current influenza viruses, have been detected so far, he said.
Until now, Việt Nam has not found any avian flu infections with the A/H7N9, A/H5N8, and A/H5N2 in poultry or humans, he said.
Last year, China reported the fifth outbreak of the deadly virus of A/H7N9 since the virus was first detected in 2013. The number of infected patients reached 1,600, and over 600 people died.
However, Phu said that Việt Nam is located in the hotspot of Southeast Asia, where travel and trading activities between affected countries occurs, so the likelihood of an outbreak remains high.
The flu virus type A was the most frequently mutated type that could develop into dangerous new strains. Globally, some types of influenza A have caused pandemics.
To actively monitor the circulation and variability of influenza virus strains in the country, the Ministry of Health has implemented the national influenza surveillance system and established two national flu centres at the National Institute of Hygiene Epidemiology and HCM City’s Pasteur Institute.
The two centres are capable of testing for the detection of influenza viruses, he said. — VNS