Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến on Tuesday told local health officials to step up preventive methods against the spread of infections and disease, particularly dengue fever and malaria.
Tiến spoke during an online conference on disease prevention in the autumn-winter season.
The number of dengue fever cases has increased in 52 provinces and cities with 72,372 incidences since the beginning of the year. Twenty-four people have died. Around 39,000 incidences were recorded in the same period last year.
Trần Đắc Phu, head of the ministry’s Preventive Health Department, said during the conference that the Zika virus was present in 72 countries and territories, including Việt Nam.
In Việt Nam, the Pasteur Institute and hygiene and epidemiology institutes have tested 2,716 samples for Zika, with three of them found positive.
The three patients had not travelled outside the country, so they must have contracted the virus (transmitted by mosquitoes) in Việt Nam, he said.
As for dengue fever, the provinces of Đắk Lắk and Gia Lai have recorded the highest number of cases in the Central Highlands.
The Khánh Hòa Province Hospital for Tropical Diseases admitted 100 patients with dengue fever in July, but the number increased to 120 in August. As of September 25, 100 patients had been treated.
Dr Nguyễn Đông, head of the hospital, told online newspaper Dân Trí that it was treating three severe cases with technical assistance from the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Disease.
If preventive methods against the disease were not carried out, there could be more cases, he said. The hospital has reported new incidences to the Khánh Hòa Preventive Health Centre.
The province’s Department of Health reported that more than 3,600 patients had been diagnosed with dengue fever since the beginning of the year. Two people have died.
In HCM City, 12,576 dengue fever cases had been reported as of September 25, an increase of 29 per cent compared to the same period last year. Three people have died.
Eight city districts have had a high number of cases, including districts 8, Hóc Môn, Thủ Đức and Bình Tân.
The health department has told local health officials to step up epidemiology efforts in wards and communes and has asked district health officials to make detailed prevention plans.
The ministry has advised the public to destroy mosquitoes and larvae to prevent infection.
Phu, speaking during the online conference, cautioned about the importance of malaria prevention. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 8,017 malaria cases nationwide.
Three people have died. At least 14,298 incidences were recorded in the same period last year.
Tiến said the number of malaria cases was increasing in the country’s mountainous provinces and in other areas such as Khánh Hòa Province.
She said that guest workers returning from Africa, Laos and Cambodia had contracted the disease in those countries, contributing to the rising number.
Trần Thanh Dương, head of the National Institute for Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, said that one of three deaths due to malaria had occurred in HCM City.
The patient had been in Angola for one month before returning to the city. At that time, the patient felt tired and went to the pharmacy to buy medicine, but his health deteriorated.
Tiến told local authorities nationwide to step up communication about disease prevention. Political and social organisations in the country should launch their own communication activities to improve public awareness, she said.
Local health officials were also told to increase the rate of immunisation coverage, especially in remote areas and where many ethnic minorities live.
District-level hospitals should also improve treatment quality and prevent disease transmission at health facilities, she said. — VNS