Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The hand, foot and mouth disease season has barely begun in HCM City but hospitals are already seeing a rush of patients, many of them severely affected, according to paediatrics hospitals.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness that afflicts children aged under five and has no vaccine or specific treatment.
The disease peaks between October and November.
Fifty-two children were being treated yesterday at the Paediatrics Hospital 1 compared to 30 in the whole of August.
An 18-month-old girl from southern Tiền Giang Province has been placed on a ventilator after being diagnosed with grade three - with grade four being the highest - of the disease.
Her mother, Trần Thị Thành, said she had fever of 39 degrees Celsius and was taken to a private clinic.
But with the fever not breaking and the child getting convulsions, Thành said she was rushed to the provincial hospital.
With her condition steadily worsening, the provincial hospital sent her to the Paediatrics Hospital 1.
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh, head of the hospital’s neurology and infectious diseases ward, said continuous fever of 39 degrees is a symptom of hand, foot and mouth disease, and parents should pay attention to this.
“When children have fever for three days, they should be taken to the nearest hospital. They will have a sore throat and rash with vesicles on the hands, feet and diaper area.”
Early detection of the disease is vital to reduce fatalities though many children with low resistance could succumb to the virus’ virulence, he said.
The disease causes complications such as pulmonary oedema, meningitis and encephalitis, he said.
The best way to prevent the disease is by parents washing their own and their children’s hands frequently, he said.
Though public awareness of the disease has improved, many parents ignore preventive measures.
At the Paediatrics Hospital 2, the number of inpatients with the disease has increased by 10 per cent in September.
Between September 16 and 22 there were 130 patients with hand, foot and mouth disease, 23 per cent higher than last month, the city Preventive Health Centre reported.
Khanh said if children get the disease they should stay at home to avoid spreading it. — VNS