About 62,000 cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, were recorded throughout Vietnam in the first 11 months of 2015, according to health officials.
As the dengue virus has many diverse types, previous patients can still be susceptible to the disease, even with a more severe state, said Dr. Truong Dinh Bac, deputy head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, at a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.
Dengue fever is a serious illness and was responsible for the deaths of two patients in Ho Chi Minh City in November alone, according toRadio the Voice of Vietnam.
The longest El Nino spell in history has also contributed to the increased risk of the dengue fever epidemic, the Vietnam News Agency quoted the General Department of Preventive Medicine as saying.
Dengue fever is an infectious disease that is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with a dengue virus, according to the World Health Organization.
The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with the dengue virus in their blood.
It cannot be spread directly from one person to another.
Symptoms include high fever (at 39 degrees Celsius or higher), headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash similar to measles.
A nationwide survey has shown that around 50,000 patients were infected with the hand, foot and mouth disease in the first 11 months of the year, Dr. Bac added.
The period of changing seasons is also a common time for epidemics of infectious diseases including seasonal flu and avian influenza to occur, the health official said.
Outbreaks can be anticipated during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday that falls in February 2016 as many people gather in public places, creating a perfect environment for viruses to spread.
The General Department of Preventive Medicine also warned about the potential danger from the consumption of pork as 82 people across the country have been infected with streptococcus, of whom 10 have died, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
It is advisable that each citizen be proactive in the prevention of such diseases by applying measures proposed by health authorities, including getting vaccinations, especially for children, eating healthy foods, staying warm under cold weather, and increasing the body’s immune system with vitamins and sufficient diets.