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Measles cases on the rise, 3 dead

Update: February, 13/2014 - 09:31
Most of the patients were from northern Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Yen Bai provinces.—Photo vietnao

HA NOI (VNS)— More than 240 people have tested positive to measles in 24 provinces since the beginning of the year, including three child fatalities, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Most of the patients were from northern Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Yen Bai provinces.

One of three children to die from the disease was from Ha Noi with the remaining two from Yen Bai Province.

More than 1,000 people were diagnosed with the disease last year.

Director of MoH's Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu said the situation in the nation's big cities, such as Ha Noi and HCM City, was not the reason for worry as patients were not concentrated in particular areas and vaccination rates were high. However, he said the disease was still dangerous.

"The epidemic of scarlet fever, suspected to be measles, has spread across China. The disease spreads via respiratory means so it can be spread with people coming in and out of the two countries," he said.

Phu said vaccinations in remote provinces had encountered difficulties due to geographical challenges limiting access, with a recent survey of the department in Yen Bai Province showing only 20 per cent of the residents had received enough vaccines.

MoH is planning a nationwide vaccination campaign in August this year for under-two-year-olds who did not receive the vaccine against measles. Provincial health departments are currently compiling the list of children for the campaign.

Nguyen Nhat Cam, director of the Ha Noi Preventive Medicine Department, said that the city had about 700,000 under-five-year-old children and around 35,000-40,000 facing a high risk of contracting the disease.

The figures came as the number of children hospitalised in Ha Noi for respiratory diseases and diarrhoea increased over the past two days, due to cold weather conditions.

Associate Professor Nguyen Tien Dung, head of the Bach Mai Hospital's Paediatrics Ward, said the number of children going to the hospital for respiratory disease checks on Monday and Tuesday increased by 10 per cent compared with previous days.

The National Paediatrics Hospital on Tuesday received nearly 3,000 children seeking health examinations for illnesses. — VNS

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