Viet Nam

Dengue fever cases rise after floods plague Vietnam

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Vietnam, Nov 28, 2008 - Across Vietnam, incidences of dengue fever have been increasing since the beginning of 2008, with an estimated 78,000 people contracting the mosquito-borne disease, the Xinhua news agency reported the local newspaper Liberty Sai Gon as saying on Tuesday (November 25). It reported that the country has seen 79 deaths from 78,512 dengue fever cases, which is 13 cases higher then the number of cases during the same period last year, according to the ministry's statistics, Xinhua stated. The Vietnam News reported that Hanoi hospitals said that the number of patients, mainly young people, is two times higher than the same period last year. Bui Nguyen Kiem, the head of Saint Paul Hospital's Internal Medicine Department said many of the patients failed to use mosquito nets at night and delayed their visit to the hospital, instead of getting medical attention as soon as symptoms appeared. According to Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu, in November alone, 15,000 new cases of severe dengue infections were registered in 40 out of the 64 provinces and cities. The floods that have recently plagued the northern provinces, along with the ongoing floods in the central and southern provinces of Vietnam, have created stagnant bodies of water that are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, promoting the spread of the disease. Vietnam has taken drastic measures, including ensuring environmental hygiene and intensifying publicity on acute diarrhea, especially in flood-hit localities, in order to eliminate the disease. Vietnam reported over 77,800 cases of dengue fever infections in 2006, including 68 casualties. In that outbreak, up to 84 percent of the infections and 91 percent of the deaths were in the southern region.