More than 80,500 cases of dengue fever have been reported across Vietnam since the most recent outbreak began earlier this year, and experts fear that number will only continue to rise.
In the first seven months of 2017, about 80,555 people were diagnosed with dengue fever, 24 of whom were killed by the mosquito-borne disease.
Comparatively, 110,876 cases of dengue fever were reported throughout the entirety of 2016, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.
Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Tran Dac Phu, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the health ministry, stated that an average of 100,000 patients are diagnosed with dengue each year in Vietnam.
Phu attributed the epidemic to multiple factors, one of which being this year’s unusual weather patterns.
The rainy season came early this year in southern Vietnam. Meanwhile, the northern region has experienced less cold days than usual, the health official elaborated.
Urbanization and the development of transportation is also a major contributor to the spread of dengue fever across the country.
People are using more objects that contain water in their homes, creating a perfect environment for mosquitoes to reproduce, he added.
|Tran Dac Phu, head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Though the epidemic was forecast at the beginning of the year, Du said, information on the matter was never thoroughly distributed, resulting in a lack of awareness among citizens.
Local authorities failing to carry out regular inspections of preventative measures taken by local residents also exacerbates the problem, said Du.
Several issues, including improper execution, limited financial capacity, or lack of cooperation from local citizens in the application of preventive methods were also listed among the causes of the outbreak.
In order to deal with the situation, the health official suggested that special units be established to examine how residents protect their houses from the epidemic.
Households that fail to meet certain standards will be fined, he asserted.
Against the backdrop of the swift increase of dengue fever cases, hospitals in major cities and provinces have been overloaded with patients.
During a working session with the Ministry of Health on Thursday afternoon, the Hanoi People’s Committee said it may need to add an extra 700 beds for patients with dengue fever.