Dengue fever cases rise to quarter-century peak

The situation is made more worrying as the virus has been found in more localities and the country’s health sector has already been stretched by the protracted fight against Covid-19.

Addressing a conference held Friday at HCMC on dengue fever prevention and control, Dr. Luong Chan Quang of Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City said the figure was only lower than what had been recorded. in Vietnam in 1998, when 300,000 cases and 400 deaths were recorded.

Vietnam has registered more than 211,000 dengue fever cases so far this year and 87 patients have died, 4.3 times the number of patients and 68 more deaths than the same period last year.

He said that for this year, it is possible that climate change and rapid urbanization have affected the habitat of the Aedes mosquito, the main vector of dengue virus, causing the virus to appear in more localities than previously.

The central highlands province of Lam Dong, for example, has never recorded a dengue fever case, but this year was different, he said.

Another reason for the high number of dengue deaths this year is the shortage of medical personnel.

In HCMC alone, after the last Covid-19 outbreak which lasted from June to October last year, 400 health workers from ward/commune medical centers quit. These workers are on the front line in the fight against infectious diseases.

In most cases, they cited overload and low income as reasons for quitting.

Meanwhile, many localities don’t have enough money to monitor and prevent the spread of the disease. Some don’t even have chemicals to spray and kill mosquitoes in breeding areas, Quang said.

Do Thi Hong Hien, representative of the World Health Organization in Vietnam, said that after almost three years of fighting Covid-19, “Vietnam is exhausted both in terms of budget and human resources.

“There is now a serious imbalance between these resources and actual patient demand,” she said.

Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of No. 1 Children’s Hospital at HCMC, said 10 to 30 percent of dengue patients are at risk of getting worse if not detected early. Once cases become severe, patients quickly develop critical symptoms, especially babies under one year old, obese patients, pregnant women, and people with other chronic illnesses.

Pham Van Quang, head of the intensive care unit at Ho Chi Minh City’s No. 1 Children’s Hospital, said that in most cases, dengue patients and their families ignored the signs beforehand. -runners, unwittingly allowing the disease to become severe.

For elevated body temperatures, the most typical early symptom of dengue fever, most patients choose to be treated at home, Quang said. VnExpress.

Once the high fever passes, people assume they have already recovered.

However, in dengue cases, the period following a high fever is the most critical and patients should be closely monitored every step of the way, he said.

Vietnam has been trying to find an effective way to fight dengue fever, one of the biggest killers among the 28 common infectious diseases it faces. The only vaccine available in the world is not recommended for people who have never had dengue fever before.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in January that the incidence of dengue has increased dramatically worldwide over the past decades and that a large majority of cases are asymptomatic or mild and self-managing, and therefore , the actual number of dengue cases is underreported.

The number of dengue fever cases reported to WHO has increased eightfold over the past two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to over 2.4 million in 2010 and 5.2 million in 2019. Reported deaths between 2000 and 2015 fell from 960 to 4,032, mostly affecting younger age groups, he said.

Carol N. Valencia