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Vietnam - Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads fast in HCMC
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has rapidly spread in Ho Chi Minh
City in the past three weeks, doubling the number of patients, mostly children,
from July to August, health authorities have warned.
Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy director
of the city Preventive Health Center, released the warning at yesterday’s
meeting between the city health Department and health authorities of municipal
The number of patients in major
hospitals in the city, namely Pediatrics Hospital 1, Pediatrics Hospital 2 and
the Tropical Diseases Hospital, has unexpectedly increased over the past three
weeks, Tho said in a statement.
The number of new HFMD patients
even reached up to 500 in one of the weeks, beyond the anticipation of health
authorities, and such a development pushed the total number of patients in
August to 2,258, nearly doubling that of July, Tho said.
Six children have died from HFMD
since the beginning of this year, compared to 16 last year, he added.
Over the past eight months the
city had 7,804 HFMD cases, slightly less than the 7,843 cases in the same
period last year.
Last year HFMD peaked in May and
June, but this year the disease has exploded in August and September, since
good control over the disease earlier in the year slowed its progress, Tho told
Prevention must be tightened
However, as the disease can be
transmitted through people-to-people contact, it can spread easily, so local
health authorities should strengthen effective measures to prevent it from
expanding further, Tho said.
As the new school year starts
today, Nguyen Hoai Nam, head of the Medical Affairs under the city Health
Department, requested that all schools, especially preschools and
kindergartens, set out specific plans for HFMD prevention and control.
HFMD is a common viral illness
among infants and children that causes a fever and blister-like eruptions
around the mouth and/or a skin rash. In Vietnam, the most common strain is
Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), which causes sores on the mouth and blisters on the
hands and feet of patients.
The Health Ministry has
previously advised authorities at all levels to make the following information
known to the public: the disease can be transmitted though digestive tracts;
there are no vaccines or specific medicines to combat the disease; children
under five years old are most vulnerable to the disease; and the main
preventive measure is maintaining hygienic practices in eating, drinking and
People should wash their
children’s hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after they use the
toilet and before they eat. They should also keep their children’s toys clean
and restrict them from putting any toys or other tools into their mouth, the