Residents, construction firms ignore dengue fever warnings

Update: July, 22/2015 - 09:13
Patients are treating at the Nhi Dong 2 Hospital in HCM City. The city's risk of a dengue fever outbreak has increased as residents and construction companies have neglected to follow city warnings to remove indoor water containers. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City's risk of a dengue fever outbreak has increased as residents and construction companies have neglected to follow city warnings to remove indoor water containers, according to city officials.

"Water containers and flower vases or pots are an ideal place for mosquitoes to lay eggs," Nguyen Tri Dung, head of the City Preventive Health Centre, said at a recent meeting in the city.

Dung said that since June health officials had imposed fines on individuals and organisations that had not taken preventive measures against dengue fever, as stipulated in a regulation issued in 2013.

The minimum fine of VND1 million (US$45.8) will be strictly enforced, according to Dung.

Nguyen Huu Hung, deputy head of the city's Department of Health, said that many residents were not aware of the risk of having open containers of water in their homes.

To ensure compliance, city inspectors plan to hand out papers to each household, state office and company to evaluate dengue-fever risk elements, and will ask the involved parties to promise to take preventive measures.

Later, city officials will check again, and issue fines if the households or businesses have not carried out measures.

People's committees in all districts will also be asked to compile a list of unoccupied houses and construction works, Hung said.

According to a representative of Binh Chanh District's Preventive Health Division, many households, companies and construction sites contain risk elements and have been asked to take preventive measures. However, few have done so.

Asso. Prof and Dr Phan Trong Lan, head of the city's Pasteur's Institute, said that air conditioners could be potential larval habitats if they had not been cleaned regularly.

Lan said residents must take the initiative and destroy potential breeding areas inside their homes. They should also allow health officials to spray chemicals inside their homes that would prevent mosquitoes from entering.

According to Lan, dengue fever epidemics appear in three- to five- year cycles, and this year an increase in the number of cases is expected.

In June, 519 hospitalised patients in HCM City were diagnosed with dengue fever, an increase of 20 per cent compared to the previous month.

Since the beginning of this year, the city has recorded more than 5,000 cases, a rise of 39 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Of that number, two people died, Dung said.

A resident of District 3, Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, said she had taken precautionary measures at home, but her daughter had contracted dengue fever and was in the hospital.

"I have two young children so I keep my house clean and destroy water containers. I use mosquito spray and use nets," she said. "A house near mine is unoccupied, and there are too many mosquitoes, but officials don't spray there because they have no access."

Her daughter returned from an English-language centre one evening, saying she felt tired. She had a fever of 40-41 degrees Celsius and was vomiting. Blood tests confirmed that she had dengue fever, Lien said.

"My daughter said that maybe she was bitten by mosquitoes at the teaching centre. Too many mosquitoes fly under the tables," she said. — VNS