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Vietnam’s health ministry asks people to take steps to curb dengue

As cases of dengue fever have rapidly increased throughout Vietnam, health officials have urged the public to take a number of precautionary measures.

As cases of dengue fever have rapidly increased throughout Vietnam, health officials have urged the public to take a number of precautionary measures.
As cases of dengue fever have rapidly increased throughout Vietnam, health officials have urged the public to take a number of precautionary measures.

By the end of September, dengue fever, which is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes, had affected nearly 45,000 people in 53 of the country’s 63 provinces and cities, and killed at least 28 people, the Ministry of Health reported.

As there is no vaccine against or any specific medicine to treat dengue, the ministry has recommended that people take the six following main measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Firstly, people should closely cover all containers of water to prevent mosquitoes from entering them and laying eggs.

Secondly, it is advisable to put fish into containers of water so that they kill mosquito larva; to turn upside down all containers of water when not in use; to change the water in flower vases every day; and to put salt or oil into water-containing objects placed underneath the feet of larders.

Thirdly, people should dispose of waste such as bottles, vases, coconut shells, used tires and tubes, broken parts of utensils such as water jars, and others to prevent them from containing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

Fourthly, everybody should sleep inside mosquito nets and wear long clothing items to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Fifthly, every family should actively cooperate with health agencies in spraying chemicals against mosquitoes.

Lastly, those who have high fever and other symptoms of dengue fever should not take antipyretics of their own choice or treat themselves at home, as improper therapies can cause fatal complications.

Dengue is not transmitted directly from person to person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and a rash, according to the World Health Organization.

Currently, Ho Chi Minh City suffers most from the dengue epidemic, with 10,624 patients hospitalized by October 1, a year-on-year increase of 80 percent, the health ministry reported.

Of these patients, five have died, and the pandemic has spread to 239 wards and communes in the city, said Dr. Nguyen Tri Dung, director of the municipal Preventive Health Center.

The city is followed, in order of the number of dengue cases, by Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Hanoi, Khanh Hoa, An Giang, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Dong Thap and Tien Giang, the ministry said.

Dr. Nguyen Trong Lan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute, also warned that the dengue epidemic may last until next year.

Ho Chi Minh is now the center of the pandemic, as it accounts for 30 percent of the total number of dengue cases in southern Vietnam, Dr. Lan said.