15 killed as Vietnam dengue outbreak spirals out of control
A crisis is rapidly unfolding in Vietnam as the number of people killed by the dengue outbreak in the Southeast Asian country has now reached 15, says the Ministry of Health.
Vietnamese authorities are struggling to get a firm grip on it, said Nguyen Thanh Long, deputy head of the Ministry, who had long requested municipalities to undertake radical initiatives to cope with the epidemic.
Since the current outbreak began earlier this year, some 58,000 people have been infected with 15 reported deaths.
Among the problems experienced, noted Deputy Minister Long, are a shortage of medicines and health workers available to help cope with the problem.
The 10 localities experiencing the most dengue infections are Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Binh Duong, Hanoi, An Giang, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Soc Trang, Khanh Hoa and Tien Giang.
Hanoi has been particularly hard hit with the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases reporting a surge in dengue infections over the past two weeks, 200 patients examined each day, 20% of whom require hospitalization.
The picture right now is not a pretty one, said Deputy Minister Long. We are staring at the face of a massive health crisis.
Dengue is essentially a mosquito-borne tropical disease, caused by the dengue virus. The disease becomes life threatening when it develops into haemorrhagic fever, which leads to bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage.
Ministry officials attributed the rapid spread of the disease to abnormal changes in weather in the northern region of the country with more rains, resulting in mosquitoes multiplying exponentially.