Although medical experts have issued warnings on personal hygiene to prevent transmission of disease during the highly conducive rainy season, awareness amongst communities is still very low.
More kid patients wait to see doctors at the Children Hospital No.1 as the rainy season is coming (Photo: SGGP)
Dr. Truong Giang, deputy head of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DOH) said the number of hand-foot-mouth cases in children have increased as the virus strain has changed into a lethal form due to poor preventive care in communities. The disease has killed 11 children so far this year.
Health inspectors have found that pre-schools do not strictly follow hygiene guidelines such as disinfecting floors and toys.
Moreover, parents show a lax attitude towards disease. This has led to 70 percent of children contracting hand-foot-mouth disease in their homes. Parents do not imbibe the habit of frequent washing of hands, especially before meals and after toilet.
The rainy season has started in Vietnam. Rainwater leaves stagnant puddles, which are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Health inspectors have conducted surveys in some areas like the Thanh Da Peninsula, Dinh Bo Linh Bridge in Binh Thanh district, Phu Lam pier, Hiep Binh Chanh in Thu Duc district and in Nha Be district. Inhabitants in these districts have very subjective attitudes, saying that it was a waste of time to clear out bushes and clean ponds as disease happened by chance or bad luck.
Hand-foot-mouth disease has killed 11 children so far while 15 toddlers are in serious condition from resulting complications. DOH statistics show some 300 children contracted the dangerous disease and around 500 babies were admitted in hospital this month.
Medical workers fret about the outbreak of some dangerous diseases like dengue fever and chicken pox as soon as the rainy season arrives. Dengue fever and chickenpox cases have increased lately. In April this year, there were 422 cases of dengue fever and 65 cases of chickenpox while there were 232 cases of dengue fever and 31 cases of chickenpox in the same period last year.
Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho said there is no vaccine for dengue fever, hand-foot-mouth disease or diarrhea but people can prevent these diseases from recurring by maintaining personal hygiene, keeping their environment clean and eating well-cooked food.