Viet Nam

Viet Nam: Unseasonable rains lead to rise in rainy season diseases

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HCM CITY — Unseasonable weather in southwestern provinces during the dry season has led to an increase in cases of diarrhoea, dengue fever, and hand, foot and mouth disease, all of which usually occur during the rainy season, according to health experts.

The Cần Thơ Pediatric Hospital in Cần Thơ City has recorded about 12,400 cases of diarrhoea, 500 cases of dengue fever, and 2,400 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease.

Dr Nguyễn Đức Trí, deputy head of the hospital’s general planning department, said the number of child patients had risen recently, with an increase of 20 per cent in diarrhoea cases and 23 per cent in dengue fever cases and hand-foot-mouth (HFM) cases against last year.

Dr Hà Anh Tuấn of the Cần Thơ Pediatric Hospital said that diseases that occurred only in the rainy season were now more prevalent during the dry season.

Many patients do not realise that fever is often a symptom of dengue fever and hand, foot and mouth disease.

As a result, parents purchase medicine at pharmacies and take their children to the hospital only when the fever becomes more serious.

Crowded hospitals

In the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang, the number of dengue fever and hand, foot and mouth cases has increased slightly compared to the same period last year.

At Tiền Giang General Hospital, many beds are shared by two patients, and some beds have been set up outside rooms.

Dr Đỗ Quang Thành, deputy head of the hospital’s general planning department, said the hospital had received about 88 dengue fever cases this year, an increase of 18 cases against last year.

Dr Hồng Tuấn Hòa, deputy director of Sóc Trăng Pediatric-Obstetrics Hospital, said there was also a slight increase in the number of patients visiting the hospital for checkups and treatment.

This year, the hospital has received 870 patients in the internal medicine department, with 87 per cent of them diagnosed with respiratory disease. Of 4,800 outpatients, nearly 50 per cent had respiratory disease.

Health prevention

PhD Dương Văn Ni of Cần Thơ University said that global climate change had changed the normal cycle of two seasons.

Health prevention should now include measures that would apply in both the dry and rainy seasons, he said.

The unseasonable rains have created favourable conditions for developing mosquitoes and disease.

Tuấn of Cần Thơ Pediatric Hospital said the peak season of dengue fever in the past generally fell from May to November, but the number of cases rose during the dry season this year.

Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes carrying the virus. In the early stage, its symptoms include high fever, severe headaches and joint aches, which can be confused with symptoms of other diseases.

The disease has potentially dangerous complications such as shock, respiratory failure, coagulation, liver damage and altered mental status, and can even be fatal. — VNS