|Parents take children they suspect have measles to the National Hospital of Paediatrics. The hospital is reported to be overcrowded due to the increasing number of measles patients. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — While the number of cases of children who have been diagnosed with measles was higher than expected, a health ministry official says it is not unusually high for this time of year.
Some 2,490 children have been diagnosed with the disease so far this year, leading to 25 fatalities.
Head of the ministry's Health Preventive Department Tran Dac Phu said that localities were gradually gaining control of the situation.
Phu said that under a decision signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2010, an epidemic was only proclaimed when national health agencies failed to control a disease.
The ministry also reported that the number of cases this year was lower than in 2009-10, when over 8,200 children were diagnosed with measles.
"Measles is a cyclical disease," Phu said.
Phu said that the outbreak would be brought under control in the next few months.
Statistics from the Viet Nam National Hospital of Paediatrics showed that up to 1,000 children were admitted to the hospital over the past four months.
Do Thien Hai, deputy head of the ministry's Infectious Disease Department, told Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer) newspaper usually only 30 to 40 children on average were admitted to the hospital with measles each year.
"I am surprised at the number of children who have been admitted with measles in the last four months," he said.
He said that in the past, it took only five to seven days to treat a child with measles, but now it was taking from two to three weeks.
The Viet Nam National Hospital of Paediatrics was also concerned about overcrowding, reported Nguoi Lao Dong.
So far this year, 83 children have been admitted with measles to Bach Mai Hospital, and 15 have contracted severe pneumonia.
In a related move, the ministry plans to provide 30 ventilators to four hospitals to help treat children with measles. — VNS