|Although diptheria is easily transmitted from one person to another, diphtheria can be prevented through vaccination. -- VNA Photo Dương Ngọc|
BÌNH PHƯỚC — An outbreak of diphtheria in the past week in the central province of Bình Phước has resulted in three deaths, a health official said.
All three patients died after being hospitalised for several days, causing great concern among local residents.
Quách Ái Đức, deputy director of the province’s Health Department, said test results showed they were positive for the disease.
The deceased, aged 12, 18 and 24, had been admitted to Bình Phứoc General Hospital, presenting symptoms of high fever, cough and breathing difficulty.
Some 34 cases of diphtheria have been reported since late June in Thuận Lợi Commune’s Thuận Tiến Village and Thuận Phú Commune’s Thuận Phú 3 Village, Đức said.
He said the other 31 patients were receiving treatment at health facilities in Bình Phước Province and HCM City.
To prevent the disease from spreading to other areas, the General Department of Preventive Medicine has suggested the provincial Health Department should closely monitor the situation and take sample tests from those exposed to the disease and from high-risk groups to detect new cases of infection.
At the same time, the Health Department was asked to take steps to promptly manage the outbreak, ensuring that people contracting the disease were isolated and receiving treatment in order to minimise the number of infections.
The department was also ordered to investigate all cases of infection in the community and at the treatment facility, submitting daily reports on each case and the results of preventive measures.
The Preventive Medicine Department also required the provincial Health Department to work with the Pasteur Institute in Hồ Chí Minh City to organise a vaccination drive at the site of the outbreak, compiling statistics on the number of people who have not been vaccinated against diphtheria. This is necessary to ensure that all children are inoculated against the disease, especially those living in mountainous and remote areas.
The province has also been urged to strengthen advocacy activities focused on risk and prevention to ensure people become more proactive in preventing the disease.
According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria. It affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. The disease is common in children but can occur in adults with impaired immunity. Although the disease is easily transmitted from one person to another, diphtheria can be prevented through vaccination.
Previously, the disease was quite common in most provinces across the country. However, since the inclusion of the diphtheria vaccine in expanded immunisation programmes, the disease has been under control, and only a few cases have been recorded among those who were not vaccinated against the disease, usually because they lived in remote areas where immunisation rates are low. — VNS