|A child with measles is treated at the HCM City-based Pediatrics Hospital No1. Measles cases are reportedly on the rise in the city. – VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngo
HCM CITY (VNS) — An increasing incidence of measles, chicken pox, dengue-fever and hand, foot and mouth disease has occurred since January 1, despite a public awareness campaign to give measles shots to children, according to the city's Preventive Medicine Centre.
Dr Nguyen Tri Dung, the centre's head, told online Dan Tri newspaper that only 63 per cent of wards and communes had participated in the campaign to give measles vaccinations to children.
On March 7, the city launched a measles vaccination campaign aimed at children aged nine months to three years. The effort was part of the national programme on expanded immunisation.
Despite the campaign, the number of measles cases in the first quarter rose 602 per cent by 603 cases compared to the same period last year.
As of the end of March, the number of vaccinations totalled 23,100, including 8,600 vaccinations to children who had never had one, and 14,500 shots for those who had had only one shot. Two shots are necessary for the vaccine to be effective.
The number fell below the target of 95,000 shots, said Dung, adding that wards and communes should publicise the names of children who had not received vaccinations.
The incidence of dengue fever usually falls in the dry season and increases in the rainy season, but the number of cases rose to 120 in the last two weeks.
More than 2,180 patients have been hospitalised for dengue fever since the beginning of the year, an increase of 26.5 per cent compared to the same period last year.
For the first quarter, chicken pox cases totalled 369, an increase of 220 per cent compared to the same period last year, and the number of hand, foot and mouth cases rose by 29.2 per cent over the first quarter of last year.
Dung said that the city health sector had faced challenges in trying to prevent the outbreak of these diseases.
To better educate the public and to limit the spread of contagious diseases, he asked educational and health divisions in each district to coordinate disease-prevention activities such as vaccinations. — VNS