Health staff in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông give children preventive medicine against diphtheria. VNA/VNS.Photo Hưng Thịnh
HCM CITY— The Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông has reported three more patients who have contracted diphtheria, raising the total number to 15.
The three new patients include two children aged 8 and another aged 15. The patients live in an area where diphtheria has broken out.
The province is making efforts to prevent the spread. Health officials are strengthening surveillance in areas with diphtheria outbreaks to find and isolate patients in time.
The province is also setting up a team with staff from relevant agencies to monitor and offer hygiene instructions under the Ministry of Health’s directive.
Health facilities have prepared staff and medical materials for treatment, and quarantine areas have been set up at the facilities.
Of the 15 patients, a 13-year-old was sent to HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases for further treatment one week ago.
According to the hospital, the teenager's health became worse after one week of treatment. The heartbeat was irregular, and heart and kidney function failed. The patient is on a ventilator and artificial cardiac pacemaker. The mortality rate is nearly 80 per cent.
The 13-year-old patient as well as a 20-year-old patient from HCM City who is being treated at Military Hospital 175 had not been vaccinated against the disease.
According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, diphtheria is a potentially fatal contagious bacterial infection among children aged 1 to 7. But older children and adults can also contract the disease.
Many diptheria patients in Đắk Nông, Kon Tum and HCM City are older children and adults who had not been vaccinated or did not receive all four vaccination shots.
In HCM City’s Thủ Đức District, many parents who were worried about their children brought them to the district’s Health Centre for vaccinations, leading to a shortage of preserved vaccines. Health Centre staff had to tell some parents to return to the centre one week later.
An Giang Province
In the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, the People’s Committee has told relevant agencies and local authorities to take preventive measures against diphtheria even though the province has not yet reported a case.
The province has asked parents to bring their children to health facilities for all vaccinations.
The Department of Health has organised training courses on treatment of the disease to improve health staff’s capacity in detection and treatment.
They have also compiled a list of children who have not received the necessary four vaccination shots. The aim is to reach immunity coverage of more than 95 per cent.
The People’s Committee has instructed the Department of Education and Training to assist the Department of Health to vaccinate all second graders.
If teachers think that students have symptoms of the disease, they should isolate them and take them to hospital for treatment, and report to local health staff.
The Department of Information and Communications will work with the Department of Health to strengthen communications about preventive measures and the vaccination programme. VNS