|Patients infected with dengue being treated at the Children’s Hospital No.2. VNA/VNS Photo|
HCM CITY — Cities and provinces in the south have recorded a spike in dengue fever incidence and with a high rate of severity, and account for 80 per cent of the cases in the country, according to the HCM City Pasteur Institute.
As of June 12 there were more than 52,200 cases in the country including 29 deaths.
All the deaths were in the south, with the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta accounting for a quarter compared to only 10 per cent in previous years, Lương Chấn Quang, deputy head of the institute’s diseases control and prevention department, told a conference in HCM City on Monday.
Health officials from centres for diseases control of 20 cities and provinces in the south discussed the risk of dengue outbreaks which have been forecast in June and July.
Incidence surged in the last four weeks, accounting for half of the year’s total cases, Quang said.
Deaths in the period accounted for 45 per cent of the total.
Surveillance has found that this year infections have been caused by dengue serotype 1 (DEN-1) and 2 (DEN-2) viruses.
DEN-2 has been detected in Bình Dương, Tây Ninh and Đồng Nai provinces.
Vương Ánh Dương, deputy head of the Ministry of Health’s department of medical examination and treatment, said HCM City had seen a 1.5-time increase in cases from the same period last year.
Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy director of the city Department of Health, said there could be more outbreaks in the south if drastic measures are not taken.
The disease incidence dropped dramatically in the last two years, lowering public awareness, he said.
Besides, medical workers in the city put all their efforts into combating COVID-19, and dengue fever prevention and control efforts were ignored as a result, he said.
The department had inspected high-risk areas and called on the public to ensure residential areas do not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, he added.
Bình Dương Province has had 4,200 cases this year, a 10 per cent increase from the same period last year, including 176 severe cases.
An official from the local Centre for Disease Control said the province had a shortage of medical workers since many quit during the COVID pandemic.
Around 300 resigned in the first quarter of this year, and 91 health stations need 550 workers to ensure measures for disease control and prevention are taken.
Assoc Prof Dr Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương, Deputy Minister of Health, told the conference that health authorities in the south face difficulties after two years of COVID, and her ministry would mobilise resources to assist them in the dengue fight and COVID response.
She instructed local health departments to play a proactive role in ensuring personnel and resources are adequate to combat dengue in their localities.
Spraying insecticides and clean-ups to get rid of mosquitoes must be a focus of action plans, she said.
Inspection teams should be set up to facilitate measures to control the disease and strengthen communications in the community, she said.
She instructed her ministry’s medical examination and treatment and medicine management departments to immediately purchase dengue fever drugs to supply provinces and cities.
Local health departments should speed up training for medical workers at private health facilities in treatment of dengue, she added. —VNS