The Heath Ministry said 41 people died of dengue fever in January-June, up 31 cases compared to the same period last year.
In the first six months this year, Vietnam recorded 136,075 dengue fever cases, up three times from the same period last year.
Of them, 41 patients had died, an increase of 31 deaths, Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Administration of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said at a meeting Tuesday.
Most dengue fever cases and fatalities were recorded in the south, which has experienced the rainy season since late April. The season is normally the peak of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease, since there is lot of stagnant water in which mosquito larvae breed.
“Among the dead, 18 were children. Of those, 72 percent were obese,” said Khoa.
He said among the reasons causing the high fatality rate is that medical staff had failed to diagnose the critical symptoms of patients, causing them to miss timely emergency aid.
In other cases, some patients had only been brought to hospitals when their conditions had worsened.
He proposed the healthcare sector train medical workers more carefully in treating dengue fever and enhance activities to educate people on taking care of dengue patients.
In June, Pham Van Quang, head of the Intensive Care Unit at Ho Chi Minh City Children’s Hospital No. 1, said in most cases, dengue fever patients and their families had ignored warning signs when contracting the disease, creating the opportunity for it to get serious.
When experiencing a high body temperature, the most typical early symptom of dengue fever, most patients had chosen to be treated at home, Quang told VnExpress.
After the high fever had gone, those people assumed they had already recovered.
However, for dengue fever, the period following high fever is the most critical, and patients must be carefully monitored every step of the way, he said.
Vietnam has been trying to find an effective way to tackle dengue, one of the biggest killers of its 28 common infectious diseases. The only vaccine for it available globally is not recommended for people who have not had dengue before.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in January the incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades and that a vast majority of cases are asymptomatic or mild and self-managed, and hence, the actual numbers of dengue cases are under-reported.
The number of dengue cases reported to WHO increased over eightfold over the last two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000, to over 2.4 million in 2010, and 5.2 million in 2019. Reported deaths between the year 2000 and 2015 increased from 960 to 4,032, affecting mostly younger age groups, it said.
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