Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus, has affected over 5,200 patients so far this year in 38 provinces and cities in Vietnam and killed three of them, according to the Ministry of Health.
The deaths were recorded in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Long An, the ministry’s Preventive Health Department said.
Compared to the same period last year, the number of patients increased by 27 percent and the death toll rose by two instances.
In February alone, 3,640 people were infected with dengue fever, the department said, adding that the disease is spreading mainly in the southern region.
Dr. Phan Trong Lan, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute, said the number of dengue cases continuously soared in late 2014, primarily in three southern localities: Binh Duong and Dong Nai Provinces and Ho Chi Minh City.
Dr. Nguyen Minh Tien, head of the Emergency Department of the Pediatrics Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, on Tuesday warned that a number of patients have been hospitalized late, so they are in more serious condition than those admitted to the hospital earlier.
Dr. Tien advised parents to pay more attention to signs of dengue in their children so that they can be taken to the hospital timely.
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, the organization says.
It cannot be spread directly from one person to another person, it notes.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.
There is no vaccine against dengue, so the preventive measure is mainly to kill mosquitoes that transmit the virus, the health ministry said.
People should closely cover all containers of water to prevent mosquitoes from entering them and laying eggs, health experts advised.