HA NOI — The dengue epidemic is expected to peak in Viet Nam in September following recent heavy rainfalls, said deputy head of the Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine Department Tran Thanh Duong.
|A girl suffering from dengue fever is treated at Children's Hospital No. 1 in HCM City. Nearly 35,000 people in the southern region were stricken by the virus in the first seven months of this year. Dengue cases are expected to peak in Viet Nam in September following recent heavy rains. – VNA/ VNS Photo Phuong Vy
A department statistics report showed that nearly 39,900 Vietnamese people were stricken by dengue virus in the first seven months of this year, 35,000 of them in southern regions: an increase of 14 per cent compared with the same period last year. Twenty-six people died.
In Ha Noi, the number of dengue virus carriers is few, with 78 patients reported since early this year.
Dengue fever is transmitted by several species of mosquito. It is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.
Duong said the dengue epidemic situation in Viet Nam was similar to nearby countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
He said the number of people with dengue virus remained high because there was not yet a vaccine and specific treatment. The rapid speed of urbanisation and the rainy season create favourable conditions for mosquitoes, spreading the epidemic.
In addition, many people think of dengue as an annual occurrence in their area, so they neglect to spray mosquito repellent and prevent the disease's spread. They only jump on the spraying bandwagon after the epidemic has already broken out.
Duong said the most important and effective solution is a vaccine. Viet Nam has been co-ordinating with international vaccine institutes to test a vaccine in some localities. If it is found to be safe and effective, it will be used in Viet Nam in the coming years.
The Red Cross, SC Johnson&Son Co, and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union have launched a programme to eradicate dengue fever in schools and residential areas.
The programme, which started in Thu Duc District, seeks to educate and raise awareness in the community and protect the environment and people's health.
Its activities include cleaning up surroundings near schools and residential areas and counselling on prevention and treatment of dengue fever with assistance from the Paediatrics Hospital No.1.
Under the programme, VND50 million (US$2,380) will be provided to the Red Cross Dengue Fever Control and Prevention. — VNS