VietNamNews

Health ministry attempts to calm flu fears

Update: December, 25/2019 - 08:00

 

Children are given flu treatment at the Hà Nội-based Hospital of Pediatrics. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc

HÀ NỘI - The Ministry of Health has announced there are no new mutations of influenza viruses or drug-resistant strains in Việt Nam.

The ministry has not recorded an abnormal number of infections so far, it said.

The ministry made the statement after the local press reported a sudden spike of flu patients hospitalised in Hà Nội and HCM City.

Many city dwellers have rushed to buy Tamiflu – an antiviral medication used to treat and prevent influenza A and influenza B – for treatment, leading to rocketing prices of the medicine recently.

According to the ministry’s 2019 data, as of early December, more than 408,900 people have been infected with the influenza virus, causing 10 deaths.

This number was 15 per cent lower than in the same period of last year and much lower than the annual average.

Most of those infected caught influenza A (H1N1) or influenza B.

On average, there are more than 800,000 recorded flu infections annually.

In the past three weeks, local press reported the number of people checking in to central hospitals for treatment had seen a sharp increase. More than 3,060 people had come for flu treatment at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases while the Hospital of Pediatrics was admitting 100-120 children daily.

Tamiflu 75mg prices had increased four or five times higher from regulated levels. The tablet had been sold for as much as VNĐ220,000 (US$9.1) while the regulated price was only VNĐ45,000 ($1.8). Many pharmacies announced they ran out of the drug.

Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of the ministry’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said Tamiflu helped treat symptoms caused by the flu virus, but there were many ways to prevent the virus.

Khuê said flu cases would likely increase in the next few days due to the impacts of cold, humid weather.

He suggested parents get their children vaccinated yearly and maintain good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.

People should maintain personal hygiene, keep their body warm and go to hospitals or health clinics for examination and treatment if they have symptoms of flu, such as sneezing, coughing and high fever. VNS