The dengue epidemic is expected to peak in Viet Nam in September following recent heavy rainfalls, said deputy head of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department Tran Thanh Duong.
A department statistics report showed that nearly 39,900 Vietnamese people were afflicted by dengue in the first seven months of this year, 35,000 of them in southern regions. This in an increase of 14 percent compared with the same period last year. Twenty-six people died.
In Ha Noi, 78 dengue cases were reported since early this year.
Dengue fever is transmitted by several species of mosquito. It is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.
Duong said the dengue epidemic situation in Viet Nam was similar to nearby countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
He said the number of people afflicted with dengue remained high in the absence of vaccine and specific treatment. The rapid speed of urbanization and the rainy season create favorable conditions for mosquitoes, spreading the epidemic.
In addition, many people think of dengue as an annual occurrence in their area, so they neglect to spray mosquito repellent and prevent the disease’s spread. They conduct spraying after the epidemic has already broken out.
Duong said the most important and effective solution is a vaccine. Viet Nam has been coordinating with international vaccine institutes to test a vaccine in some localities. If it is found to be safe and effective, it will be used in Viet Nam in the coming years.
The Red Cross, SC Johnson&Son Co, and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union have launched a program to eradicate dengue fever in schools and residential areas.
The program, which started in Thu Duc District, seeks to educate and raise awareness in the community and protect the environment and people’s health.
Its activities include cleaning up surroundings near schools and residential areas and counseling on prevention and treatment of dengue fever with assistance from the Paediatrics Hospital No.1.