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City acts on acute diarrhoea outbreak

Update: August, 08/2014 - 08:50
In the first seven months of the year, the city recorded 3,953 incidences of acute diarrhoea, with two fatalities.— Photo antv.gov.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — The Department of Health in HCM City has urged preventive medicine centres in all districts to provide fresh water and standard toilets to prevent further outbreaks of acute diarrhoea.

Nguyen Huu Hung, the department's deputy head, told Viet Nam News yesterday that the city had an average of 9,000 cases of acute diarrhoea a year.

In the first seven months of the year, the city recorded 3,953 incidences of acute diarrhoea, with two fatalities.

During an online meeting held on Wednesday, Dr Phan Trong Lan, head of the city's Pasteur Institute, said the two fatalities in Binh Chanh District's Le Minh Xuan Commune and Vinh Loc A Commune had occurred because there had not been fresh water and standard toilets to use.

The environment of the neighbourhood was also unhygienic, he said, adding that stool samples had tested positive for E. coli bacteria.

On August 1, food samples taken from the district's Cau Xang market, where residents in Le Minh Xuan Commune buy food, were also tested.

The apple-snail samples tested positive for V. cholerae, Lan said.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the Preventive Medicine Department, said that the country had an average of 500,000 diarrhoea cases each year.

Since the beginning of this year, 301,570 incidences of diarrhoea were reported, with three fatalities, including one in Thanh Hoa Province and other two in HCM City.

However, the incidences fell by 14. 9 per cent and the number of fatalities by two.

Summer was the favourable condition for the development of diarrhoea, he said, adding that unhygienic environments and the public's lack of awareness of the importance of washing hands were to blame for such outbreaks.

In addition, diarrhoea often broke out in areas where floods occured, he added.

Health departments in provinces and cities should strengthen health communications to hygiene and washing hand for residents, he added.

The head of the Medical Health Management Department, Nguyen Huy Nga, said that more campaigns needed to be carried out to check the quality of the water supply and food by the end of this year. The results will be reported to the Ministry of Health.

People's committees should also give priority to funding for building standard toilets, he added.

As of June, 62 per cent of families in the country had standard toilets, he said.

Five per cent of families in the Central Highlands and coastal north-central provinces do not have toilets. More than 10 per cent of families in the Mekong Delta use toilets built on fish ponds.

As of June, inspectors of the Medical Health Management Department had tested the quality of 1,722 water supply facilities, he said, adding that 24 per cent of them were substandard.

In this year's fourth quarter, three provinces with a high risk of cholera will give 150,000 vaccine shots to protect against the V. cholerae bacteria. The provinces are Thua Thien Hue, Tien Giang and Ben Tre.

Since 1998, 4.6 million vaccine shots have been provided in provinces that have a high risk of cholera. — VNS

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