Vietnam at risk of hand-foot-mouth outbreak

The General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health April 29 warned of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the country.

Tran Dac Phu, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine said since early this year, the country has over 17,400 hand-foot-mouth cases in 62 out of 63 provinces and cities. Most of cases are in Ho Chi Minh City with nearly 2,700 cases, an increase of 29 percent; the Southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau with over 1,100 cases, a soar of 34 percent; Ca Mau province in the southern tip of Vietnam with 940 cases and the highlands province of Kon Tum at 112 cases.

Phu said hand-foot-mouth disease takes place all year round and its peak often is in March to May and  September to December.

This disease starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell (malaise), and sore throat. The sores are often in the back of the mouth. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

Most of cases are slight. However, the disease may cause some fatal complications including viral or "aseptic" meningitis, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or acute pneumonia. The most difficulty is that Vietnam currently has no vaccine against the disease.

The Ministry of Health warned people observe strict personal hygiene including washing hands with soap usually after and before meals and after going to toilet.  People must eat well done food and pasteurize all handkerchief, dishes, spoons, and toys. Schools and day care centers have to disinfect toys, floor and tables.

Teachers keep an eye on students in order to early discover sick child to quarantine to curb transmission. Children with ailment must be kept at home.

Related news, 3,751 cases of measles were recorded in 61 out of 63 provinces and cities, and 153 children have died of the disease or measles-related complications so far, the health ministry reported on April 27.

The National Children Hospital is treating 230 children while Bach Mai has 69 inpatients.

The Ministry announced vaccination rate in children rise up 79.4 percent. Ministry expects to reach the target rate of 95 percent.

By Quoc Lap - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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