Infectious disease cases on the rise

Since early this year, infectious disease cases in HCMC have been on the rise. Worse, the health sector reported that not only diseases without preventive vaccines but also vaccine-preventable diseases have seen high case numbers.

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Disease contraction because of not getting vaccine shots

Recently, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has recorded measles contraction of two children in Tan Tao and Binh Hung Hoa B wards of Binh Tan District. Both toddlers had a fever before developing a rash for a few days, accompanied by respiratory infection symptoms. They are currently being treated actively at the City Children's Hospital and the Ho Chi Minh City Tropical Diseases Hospital.

According to Dr. Le Hong Nga, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Center for Disease Control, immediately after receiving information about these two cases, the center coordinated with Binh Tan District Health Center to investigate the epidemiology and implement disease prevention measures in the community. Initial epidemiological investigation results have pointed out that the two children had not been vaccinated against measles. There was no connection between the two cases, nor were any new cases detected in the places where the children are living and studying.

Dr. Le Hong Nga said that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the interruption of vaccine supply in the National Expanded Immunization Program in the past time has affected the vaccination rate for children. Many children have not been vaccinated as scheduled, or some had not had enough doses.

As of the end of April 2024, the proportion of children who are 18 months old and older fully receiving two doses of measles for children born in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 was 93.2 percent; 90.1 percent; 91.7 percent and 93.6 percent respectively. This coverage has not reached the target set by Ho Chi Minh City of over 95 percent.

Therefore, medical workers advised parents to take their children to health stations to get vaccine shots because two doses of measles vaccine are 97 percent effective in preventing measles. Children will be entitled to free two doses of measles vaccine at 9 months of age and 18 months of age in the Expanded Immunization Program at health stations, said Dr. Le Hong Nga.

In the past week, Ho Chi Minh City has recorded a 3-year-old patient with severe pneumonia due to A/H1 influenza. The patient was transferred from a local hospital to the City Children's Hospital. The patient was diagnosed with pneumonia and severe progressive acute respiratory failure due to A/H1 influenza.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease and dengue fever cases increase

According to a report from the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, in the first 19 weeks of 2024, roughly 13,495 cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and one death were reported in 20 provinces and cities in the southern region, an increase of 33.1 percent compared to the same period in 2023. In Ho Chi Minh City, there have been 4,471 cases of HFMD including 40 severe cases and no death in medical facilities since the beginning of the year, an increase of 33 percent compared to the same period in 2023.

Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health, said that for many years, the southern metropolis has been one of the localities with the highest number of dengue fever cases in the country. Since the beginning of the year, the city has recorded more than 3,300 cases of dengue fever, including districts with high numbers of cases such as Tan Phu, Binh Tan, and Binh Chanh districts.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Lien Huong said that this year, the disease will develop more complicatedly than in 2023 especially during seasonal transitions with unusual weather changes creating favorable conditions for the development of pathogens, and the potential risk of invasion and spread of disease-causing agents. In the face of the complex and unpredictable development of infectious diseases, the Ministry of Health has requested localities to be proactive and strengthen preventative measures to control diseases early including diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and avian influenza.

The health sector recommends that people raise their awareness of disease prevention such as donning masks, washing hands frequently with soap or hand sanitizers, rinsing the throat with mouthwash, avoiding contact with people with symptoms of respiratory diseases such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

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