Dengue patients’ reluctance to go to hospital amid COVID-19 pandemic could prove deadly: doctors

September 05, 2020 - 09:46
People with dengue fever should go to hospitals and not be worried about COVID-19 transmission, doctors warned.


A dengue fever patient being treated at the HCM City Children’s Hospital 1. VNA/VNS.Photo Đinh Hằng

HCM CITY— People with dengue fever should go to hospitals and not be worried about COVID-19 transmission, doctors warned.

A 17-year-old dengue patient in Hà Nội recently died after being treated at home.  

A 20-year-old patient in HCM City was brought to the District 11 Hospital with a low platelet count and other severe symptoms, and was diagnosed with dengue fever. The hospital’s Dr Phạm Anh Tuấn said luckily she had not yet gotten shock syndrome, which would have made it difficult to save her life.

The woman had high fever for three days, but her family did not want to take her to a hospital for treatment fearing COVID-19.

Tuấn said dengue fever causes unexpected complications and people should not try to treat it themselves.

Dr Nguyễn Thanh Phong, head of the infectious diseases department D at HCM City’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases, said not going to a hospital for dengue treatment because of COVID-19 fears is very dangerous since the disease has a high fatality rate.

Doctors said dengue fever could become severe between the fifth and seventh days, and if a patient vomits, bleeds from nose or has abdominal pain then, they should definitely go to a hospital.

Preventive measures against COVID-19 were stringent at hospitals, which had also set up areas for people with symptoms of respiratory diseases, and so people should not be worried about going to hospitals.  

Huỳnh Văn Dõng, head of the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention in Khánh Hòa Province, said many dengue patients came to hospitals in a very bad state after treating themselves at home due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

The province had 2,546 dengue cases in the first seven months of the year.

People should protect themselves against dengue fever since hospitals in many provinces and cities are getting more and more cases, according to health departments.

The Hà Nội Department of Health has reported 1,422 cases this year, including one death.

In HCM City, nearly 11,404 dengue fever cases have been reported, including 543 in the last week of August alone, 16 more than in the entire four previous weeks. There were outbreaks in 31 wards and communes in 13 districts that week and the year’s first fatality.

The city Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention forecast the disease to peak next month or November but the number to be lower than in previous years.

But it warned that the public should not be neglectful.  

The city Children’s Hospital 1 now has 60 children with dengue, including seven whose health status is worsening due to their underlying medical conditions.

Dr Phạm Văn Quang, head of its intensive recuperation department, said the hospital managed to cure a 12-year-old boy with severe dengue and obesity. He had fever and abdominal pain for three days.

This was his second time after contracting a different strain of dengue three years ago, he said.  

Children and adults who contract the disease should be treated in time, he warned.

Children’s Hospital 2 is now treating 25 patients, of whom nearly 10 per cent are worsening.

The Mekong Delta province of Long An has reported nearly 1,000 cases this year. All its 15 districts, towns and city have had cases, though the districts of Đức Hòa, Bến Lức, Cần Đước, and Cần Giuộc and Tân An City account for 71 per cent of them.          

Since last month Sơn La Province in the far north has reported 25 cases, 24 ones in Hát Lót Town and one in Sơn La City.

The Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk recorded more than 500 cases last month. VNS