Vietnam’s southern Ho Chi Minh City has seen numbers of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease and dengue fever in children increasing sharply, with six deaths of dengue having been recorded, the municipal Center for Disease Control (HCDC) reported on Friday.
During the first four months of 2022, the city recorded 1,599 hand-foot-mouth disease cases, with 96 percent being children aged one to five years old.
The number of hand-foot-mouth cases has increased alarmingly in most districts, including District 8, Binh Tan, Tan Phu, and Binh Chanh, and Thu Duc City.
Notably, from May 6 to May 12 only, 628 patients were recorded, nearly three times higher than the average of the previous four weeks.
Numbers of cases increased both in hospital treatment and outpatient examination across the city, the HCDC reported.
To actively prevent the disease, it is necessary for both children and their caregivers to wash hands frequently with soap several times a day.
It is advisable to eat well-cooked foods and drink previously boiled water, and to wash dining utensils thoroughly before use, the agency recommended.
In addition, people should regularly clean daily contact surfaces and tools with soap or common detergents and should not allow children to be exposed to sick or suspected sick people.
Typical symptoms of the hand-foot-mouth disease are fever, sore throat, oral mucosal and skin lesions, mainly in the form of blisters, commonly found on palms, soles, knees and buttocks.
Most of the cases are mild, except for some cases that develop seriously and may cause dangerous complications that can lead to death, the HCDC warned, emphasizing the importance of early detection for prompt treatment.
Any children having signs of the disease should be taken to a doctor for examination as soon as possible, the agency advised.
Regarding the dengue fever, the city recorded 7,426 cases in the first four months of 2022, up 16.2 percent over the same period last year.
Over the first four months of 2022, the Children’s Hospital 2 received 2,006 dengue fever cases, an increase of 40 percent compared to the same period in 2021, said Dr. Nguyen Dinh Qui, deputy head of the hospital’s Infectious Disease Department.
Of these cases, 901 cases needed to be hospitalized for treatment, up 15 percent over the same period in 2021, of which there were 154 severe cases requiring emergency care.
|A health worker taking blood samples from a child patient for dengue testing at Children’s Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre|
From May 6 to 12, the city recorded two more deaths from dengue fever in District 11 and Hoc Mon District, bringing the total fatalities to six so far.
During the same period, the city recorded 1,160 more cases of dengue fever, doubling the average of four weeks ago, with numbers of cases increasing in both inpatients and outpatients in most of the city’s localities.
As dengue fever is transmitted from person to person through mosquito bites, the most effective measure to prevent the disease is to kill mosquitoes and minimize their habitats, including places of slow-moving or stagnant water, doctors said.
Typical symptoms of dengue fever are high fever for two to seven days, accompanied with signs of hemorrhage such as petechial spots, teeth or nose bleeding, bruises, and abnormal vaginal bleeding in pubertal girls, according to the HCDC.
Children having high fever for consecutive two or three days should be taken to a medical facility for examination and diagnostic testing for dengue fever, Dr. Qui advised.
Children must be taken to the hospital immediately when they suffer such symptoms as lethargy or writhe, cold and wet limbs, severe abdominal pain, continuous vomiting, excessive mucosal bleeding, vomiting blood, bloody urine, or black stools.
A large outbreak of dengue fever may appear every four or five years, epidemiologists said, adding that Vietnam recorded such an outbreak in 2019 with more than 300,000 dengue cases, including 65,000 patients in Ho Chi Minh City.
As such, this year may experience a new dengue outbreak, they warned.