The Ministry of Health and the Can Tho City People's Committee yesterday kicked off a meeting to celebrate ASEAN Dengue Day on June 15.
The ministers of health in member countries in ASEAN last year decided to establish the day to raise awareness for dengue prevention in the region.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 2.5 billion people worldwide currently are at risk of dengue fever infections.
Among them, 70 per cent are living in Asia-Pacific countries.
More than 500 delegates of foreign embassies in Viet Nam and health departments in southern provinces attended the meeting.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Ba Thuy said that dengue fever could be prevented if people's awareness about the disease was improved.
The Vietnamese Government has given priority to dengue fever prevention by including it in disease-prevention programmes and increasing funds for prevention each year, Thuy said.
Although the annual number of patients with dengue fever has fallen, it still remains too high because of the lack of awareness about dengue fever prevention and the shortage of health staff in districts and communes.
In Viet Nam, dengue fever occurs in nearly all of the 20 southern provinces and cities, several provinces in the central and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region.
Last year, dengue fever affected 125,000 patients nationwide, and 104 died.
In the first five months of this year, the country reported more than 15,000 patients with dengue fever. Eleven of them died.
Dengue fever often breaks out during the rainy season in September and October.
Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Malaysia and Viet Nam all have rather high number of patients with dengue fever.— VNS