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Travel Advisory: Avoiding Malaria in Vietnam

Persistent rain has prompted a warning that malaria cases are increasing after years on the wane and an outbreak is “highly likely” in some remote and mountainous areas.

Nguyen Xuan Thieu, deputy director of the Ministry of Health’s Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, said the areas at high-risk were in the Central Highlands, central and south-east areas and Quang Tri, Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue central provinces.

Dak Nong Province in the Central Highlands, for example, had seen 420 cases of malaria this year, a rise of 80 over the same period last year.

The reason for the increase was a high amount of rain which had created a luxuriant bush.

In residential areas and fields in the mountains, rainwater had stagnated, creating perfect conditions for the mosquito to reproduce quickly.

Meanwhile, many households used rainwater but failed to cover their storage containers,Thieu said.

The institute would join hands with local departments of health to spray malaria prevention chemicals in high-risk areas and leaflets in common and ethnic languages about malaria spread and prevention would be delivered to residents.

Mosquito nets used in houses would be soaked in chemicals, he said.

In 2008 the number of malaria infections was down by 85 per cent and related fatalities had decreased by 95 per cent compared with 1991, when the disease first broke out.

In 2010 the rate of malaria patients was 62/100,000 residents, a decrease by 84 per cent compared with 2000, Thieu said.

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