Thousands ill in Vietnam dengue outbreak

Al Jazeera

Mosquito-borne disease outbreak stretches Vietnam medical system as officials report 10,000 new infections in one week.

A total of 90,626 people have been infected with dengue, of whom 76,848 have been hospitalised [Tran Van Minh/AP]

Vietnam is battling a raging dengue fever outbreak with more than 10,000 new infections reported over the past week.

The number of infected represents a 42 percent increase over the same period last year along with seven more deaths, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

A total of 90,626 people have been infected, of whom 76,848 have been hospitalised, and 24 have died.

The ministry attributed the rise of dengue cases to higher temperatures, more rain, and rapid urbanisation that promote the breeding of virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Dr Vu Minh Dien of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, where the most severe cases are being treated, said hundreds of people have been checking in daily complaining of high fever.

“I have said some 800 to 1,000 people with suspected dengue fever checked in for examination each day,” he said.

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Dien said some 300 dengue patients were being treated, stretching the hospital’s resources.

Tran Thi Xuyen, a fruit and vegetable seller in a small market in Son La province, said she did not know how she contracted dengue fever, which also infected her colleague.

“I took antibiotics prescribed by the local district hospital for four days, but the fever did not go away, and I admitted myself to this hospital where doctors said I had dengue fever,” she said from her hospital bed.

No cure exists for any of the four strains of the mosquito-borne virus that causes high fever, exhaustion, and in some cases a vicious skin rash. Patients most at risk of dying are the elderly, children, or those with other medical complications.

Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City are the hardest hit.

The government on Thursday urged residents to actively engage in killing mosquitoes and mosquito larvae, particularly at construction sites and housing for workers.

“The joint efforts by the people as well as our political system in searching and eliminating mosquito larvae, emptying water containers, which are fertile for larvae to breed, and spraying chemicals to kill mosquitoes are key factors to curb dengue fever,” Dien said.

Source: AP news agency

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