Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are located in a region with many diseases caused by arbovirus, including Aedes aegypti mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Zika. These communicable diseases have a high risk of becoming epidemics and are not limited by borders.
There are about 1,700 – 1,800 new dengue fever cases reported in Vietnam each week recently, according to the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department.
The numbers of dengue patients in Hanoi, Da Nang city and the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Tra Vinh and Ca Mau have risen sharply in the first five months of the year from the same period in 2016. Up to 80% of the cases and 90% of the deaths from the disease are reported in southern localities.
Hanoi recorded nearly 500 dengue patients from the beginning of 2017 to May, up 45% from a year earlier, the capital city’s preventive medicine centre reported.
There are four types of dengue viruses in Vietnam, the Preventive Medicine Department said, adding that one person can contract many types of viruses and be infected with dengue fever many times. Meanwhile, an infected people can also transmit the disease if the mosquitoes bite the patient and then a healthy person.
People should not underestimate this disease, the department added.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said there is not yet an effective medicine to treat dengue fever while dengue vaccination remains unpopular.
The main prevention measure is to eliminate transmission sources, he said, admitting that global warming, El Nino, uncontrolled urbanisation and migration have hampered dengue prevention efforts.
The Ministry of Health launched a campaign to call on people nationwide to eradicate mosquitoes and larvae to prevent dengue fever and Zika virus. Various activities under the drive have been carried out across the country, Long added.