The Ministry of Health on Monday afternoon asked local authorities and hospitals nationwide to strengthen preventive measures to control the spread of hand-foot-mouth disease.
In the first nine months of this year, over 53,500 infections were reported nationwide, and nearly 25,900 victims were hospitalised, six of whom died in five cities and provinces in the south.
Deputy head of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department Dang Quang Tan said that compared with the same period last year, the number of infections had dropped by 25 per cent and the number of hospitalised patients had fallen 20 per cent.
Hanoi, Da Nang and localities in the south including HCM City, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Dong Thap and Long An have seen sharp increases in the last few weeks.
“The disease tends to spread quickly as students return for the new school year,” he said, adding that there was no vaccine for the disease.
The Health Ministry asked local health departments to work closely with education departments and schools to spread the word about disease prevention and control, especially in kindergartens and preschools.
Schools have been instructed to provide soap in bathrooms and ensure students wash their hands.
In Vietnam, the disease occurs throughout the year, but the peak season is from March until May and September to December. Children can get hand-foot-mouth disease at all ages but children below three years old are more susceptible.
The disease is usually a short mild illness, but in some cases patients can experience complications such as encephalitis, meningitis, myocarditis and acute pneumochysis, which can cause death if not properly treated.
Last year, over 100,000 hand-foot-mouth disease cases were detected, of which one death was reported.