Nearly 5,000 new dengue cases in Hanoi

by News Desk

HANOI (Viet Nam News/ANN) - Hanoi is yet to declare an outbreak despite more than 13,200 people in the capital were infected with dengue fever this year.

Nearly 5,000 additional cases of dengue fever have been detected in Hanoi within the last two weeks, including six fatal ones. This raises the total number of people contracting dengue fever in the capital to more than 13,200 since early this year.

The sixth patient, who reportedly died of dengue fever on Wednesday night at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, was a 56-year-old woman from Thanh Xuan District. She was hospitalised five days earlier with cardiac arrest and multi-organ failure.

The five other fatalities were from the capital’s Hoang Mai, Dong Da, Ba Dinh and Ha Dong districts. Data from the city’s Centre for Preventive Medicine show that 90 per cent of dengue patients live in the districts of Hoang Mai, Dong Da, Thanh Xuan, Ha Dong, Cau Giay, Hai Ba Trung, Thanh Tri, Thanh Oai, Thuong Tin, and Hoai Duc.

Dengue fever generally mimics flu symptoms and goes away within a week, but some cases can be more serious and require hospitalisation.

The rapid increase in the number of dengue fever patients has pushed hospitals into overload, including the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Bach Mai Hospital, Thanh Nhan Hospital and Dong Da Hospital.

The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases on Wednesday had to use its meeting room to set up 20 beds for patients. That morning 500 people arrived at the hospital for dengue-fever examinations.

The hospital has a hotline number - 0969241616 - to receive questions related to dengue fever.

No outbreak declared

In response to the question of why the city has yet to declare a dengue fever outbreak, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the city’s Health Department, said the aim of declaring an outbreak is to issue information on the disease to the public and obtain funding to control it.

Currently, although Hanoi has not declared an outbreak, all the information has been passed on to residents through the mass media, Hanh said. Additionally, the city has spent VND20 billion (US$880,000) so far in an attempt to bring the situation under control.

“We are still carefully considering the situation before making a decision of declaring a dengue fever outbreak,” he said.

The Ministry of Health reports that over 82,000 people have contracted dengue fever around the country this year, with 23 fatalities. 

Hand, foot, mouth disease

With the onset of the hand, foot and mouth disease season, parents should take preventive measures like frequently washing hands, a senior HCM City paediatrician has said.

Speaking to the media on August 9 Dr Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infectious and nervous diseases department at the city’s Paediatrics Hospital 1, said more and more children were being brought to the hospital with the disease.

Now it was treating 50 inpatients every day compared to 20 normally, he said.

Many of the 50 cases were severe, with one of them put on a breathing machine.

Doan Kim Thai of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, whose 13-year-old daughter has the disease and is getting treatment at the hospital, told Tri Thuc Tre online newspaper that she had had fever for seven days.

She was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but three days ago got convulsions.

Thai was worried and asked the hospital to transfer her to a HCM City hospital.

She said several children in her neighbourhood had the disease.

According to the city Preventive Health Centre, the city recorded 168 cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease last week, 11 per cent higher than average in the last four weeks.

Khanh said outbreaks would continue to rise until November.

If children have high fever for two days, vomit and have convulsions, they should be taken to hospital, he said.

Children less than a year old are more severely affected than older ones, according to the doctor.

After a day or two of the fever painful sores could develop in the mouth, and children refuse to eat anything or get red spots on their skin.

These symptoms are often mistaken for other illnesses such as sore throat.

The disease could cause complications like encephalitis or lung inflammation if not treated in time, Khanh warned.