The Ministry of Health has dispatched a team of health experts to the two southern provinces of Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh, where the most reported cases of the highly contagious hand-foot-mouth disease have been recorded, to take stock of the prevailing situation.
Dr. Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Preventive Health Department in the Ministry of Health, said that this is but first of the four inspection teams that will be sent to 25 major provinces and cities including Ho Chi Minh City, the southern provinces of An Giang, Dong Thap, Long An and the highland provinces of Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum to assist local authorities in controlling the spread of the disease.
A team will also be deployed on August 15 for the three central provinces of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen where there is also a high rate of hand-foot-mouth patients.
By August 5, the country had recorded more than 29,200 cases of hand-foot-mouth in 49 provinces. The disease has claimed 79 lives in 16 provinces and cities. Ho Chi Minh City is leading with 22 dead, followed by Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Long An, Quang Ngai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, as per the Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine.
In addition, recent tests conducted by the National Institute of Hygiene and the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, showed that many hand-foot-mouth patients test positive for EV 71 virus, a deadly form of virus causing serious complications.
The hand-foot-mouth epidemic has now spread to 49 cities and provinces, reporting 29,207 patients, four times higher than last year. Children under five account for more than 96 percent of the fatalities.
Meanwhile, dengue fever also shows no signs of abating. Dr. Le Bich Lien, deputy director of Children Hospital-1 in HCMC said the hospital admits more than 80 dengue fever patients per day, an increase of 20 cases a day compared to early July. 50 percent of these patients are HCMC residents.
Health inspection teams to contain epidemics