50 out of the 15,000 patients infected with hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in southern Vietnam have died this year, tripling the death toll of the same period last year, the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City reported.
The localities with the largest numbers of patients are HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An and Tien Giang provinces.
Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho, deputy head of the HCMC Preventive Health Center, said in HCMC alone, 5,000 children have contracted with HFMD so far this year. Of these, 20 have died.
Tho said the number of patients diagnosed with HFMD has been in the rise for the past few years, amounting to 400-600 new cases per week this year.
Tho blamed the outbreak on a new etiological agent, Enterovirus 71 (EV71) of the sub-genotype C4 which causes severe complications as well as relapse in many children who have been cured.
Tho said the number of children currently treated for HFMD at Pediatrics Hospital 1 is 170 per day on the average. Meanwhile, Pediatrics Hospital 2 receives 60 new cases every day and two died last week.
Dang The He, director of the Preventive Health Center in District 8, said HFMD in this district has slowed down to 5 cases on July 15, which is far lower than the 10-15 cases per day previously.
16 state-owned preschools district-wide have also been closed for the past few days for students’ safety, he said.
So far this year, this district has seen 430 HFMD patients and three of them have died.