Epidemics likely to spread

In recent years, many provinces have suffered from epidemics, especially digestive-related diseases such as cholera, said Professor Doctor Nguyen Tran Hien, head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE).

Mr Hien stated this at a conference held in Hanoi on April 27 to put in place measures to combat epidemics in the northern region this year.

He warned that the A/H5N1 virus, dengue fever and measles are likely to break out in 2010. Last year, Vietnam had more than 2,000 cases of flu infection, including 15 deaths caused by the A/H5N1 virus, he added.

In 2009, more than 9,400 people in the northern region were diagnosed as having measles. The NIHE has planned to vaccinate all children under six against measles by 2012.

Since the beginning of this year, the country has confirmed 50 cases of cholera, mostly in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh and Hai Duong. The disease is likely to spread widely due to shortcomings in preventive healthcare and ineffective cooperation between local authorities and functional agencies.

According to Professor Hien, it is also essential to introduce preventive measures against respiratory diseases, including A/H1H1 and A/H5N1.