Epidemics more complicated this summer

(VOV) - Vietnam has confirmed its first fatalities from hand-foot-mouth disease (HFM), dengue fever, rabies, and encephalitis since the beginning of this year.

As summer approaches, health authorities are stepping up their warnings that these diseases are likely to break out and develop into full fledged epidemics.

At a press briefing in Hanoi on May 8, the Ministry of Health (MoH) listed 11 diseases which often spread out in summer and warned that these diseases are getting more complicated during this time of year.

Since early this year, 191 cases of encephalitis have been reported, including three fatalities, up 9% compared to the same period last year.

In addition, 15 people died of rabies, three of dengue fever and 2 of HFM disease.

HFM disease is spreading across several provinces with more than 17,000 cases confirmed, including 2 deaths in Long An and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces.

epidemics more complicated this summer hinh 0

Despite an overall decline in numbers of patients, the disease remains an imminent and deadly threat this year, the MoH warned.

Dengue fever is in a similar predicament. It is very extremely difficult to cope with the disease as there is no vaccine against the disease, said Director of the Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu, under the MoH.

Meanwhile, other diseases, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), flu type A/H7N9 in China and wild-virus poliomyelitis, are likely to enter Vietnam.

Phu said Vietnamese people who are studying and working in the Middle East can readily introduce MERS-CoV into Vietnam unless drastic preventative measures are undertaken.

Similarly, flu type A/H7N9 in China is yet to be brought under control, while flu type 1/H5N1 in Cambodia is very aggressive with an ever increasing number of infected cases being reported.

Meanwhile, daily travel between the two countries poses a high risk of the disease crossing over into Vietnam.

Phu said the healthcare sector is implementing a series of measures to prevent summer epidemics, especially HFM disease and dengue fever.

The MoH has set up 8 working groups to inspect epidemic preventive measures in localities across the country.