|A doctor examines a pregnant woman with measles at HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases. – VNA/VNS Photo Đinh Hằng|
HCM CITY — Hospitals in HCM City and Hà Nội are admitting dozens of patients with measles each week, many of them pregnant women and children.
The Department of Infectious and Nervous Diseases at the city’s Paediatrics Hospital No 1 is currently treating 35 children with measles. Since last December, it has been receiving 20 to 40 patients with measles per day.
Dr. Trương Hữu Khanh, head of the department, said that most cases were serious with many complications, including four patients who were in intensive care.
Most of the admitted children had not been vaccinated against measles, and some of them had received only one injection instead of two as prescribed.
Paediatric Hospital No 2 is now treating 61 children with measles, including five who are on mechanical ventilation.
Besides children, adults and, especially pregnant women, are vulnerable to contracting measles.
Dr Huỳnh Thị Thuý Hoa of the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases said the hospital had been admitting 50 to 70 patients with measles each day in the last several weeks.
Currently, its doctors are treating 67 patients with measles, including 38 children.
"The number of measles cases has increased dramatically since last September," Hoa said.
Since October, the hospital has admitted seven pregnant women with measles. Three of them had to terminate their pregnancy. Measles in pregnant women can cause premature birth or stillbirth.
Women who did not receive a measles-rubella vaccine before pregnancy are the most vulnerable to contracting measles.
Võ Thị Thanh Thuý, 31, who lives in Long An Province, had a high fever and body aches and was diagnosed with measles and transferred directly to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City. She was 12 weeks pregnant at the time.
In Hà Nội, the Infectious Diseases Department at Bạch Mai Hospital admitted five to seven patients with measles weekly over the last two weeks.
Most of them were women aged 25 to 40 who live in Hà Nội and nearby provinces such as Hà Nam, Hưng Yên, and Bắc Giang. Several of them were pregnant, according to Dr. Đỗ Duy Cường, head of the department.
Last year, the hospital received about 50 cases with measles, Cường told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper.
Many patients with measles have complications of pneumonia and bronchitis.
Hoa of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases told Vietnam News Agency that outbreaks of measles, a contagious disease caused by a virus, can occur every three to five years.
In 2014, the hospital admitted 2,596 patients with measles, Hoa said. “The number of incidences is expected to increase.”
Dr Trương Hữu Khanh, head of HCM City’s Paediatrics Hospital No 1’s infectious and nervous diseases department, said: “The outbreak has occurred again because some children have not received vaccines. An average of seven to 10 children in each locality each year are not vaccinated. These children do not have immunity and can contract measles later and transmit it to others.”
In the southern region, measles can occur at any time of the year, especially in months with rain and cool weather.
The HCM City Preventive Health Centre has warned parents with children born from 2014 to 2017 to get vaccinated against measles, which follows the Ministry of Health’s national campaign on vaccination, which started in early January.
The centre said measles cases had been reported in many provinces and cities throughout the country.
Currently, HCM City is admitting at least 100 hospitalised patients with measles each week to health facilities.
In the first week of the year, 60 patients with measles were hospitalised at the city’s health facilities. Many of them were from the districts of Thủ Đức, 8, 12 and Bình Tân.
No cases were reported in the same period last year, according to the centre’s report. – VNS