The Ministry of Health announced on February 28 of more than 159 positive cases of the swine flu virus in 19 provinces and cities since the beginning of the year.
Most of the cases have shown recovery without any complications. However three deaths were reported of patients from Hanoi, Bac Giang and Thua Thien-Hue. Medical workers have fretted since the outbreak of the disease which spread simultaneously in schools and residential quarters by the middle of February to areas like Dien Bien province, Ben Tre and Thua Thien in the Mekong delta and in Hue.
According to Dr. Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine, people need to be warned not to be lax in their approach to the disease because even a normal flu could escalate into a chronic case in all old and young alike.
On the same day, Dr. Nguyen Hong Ha, deputy Director of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, said that North Vietnam was facing a peak in rubella cases, more commonly known as German measles, with more than 910 cases recorded by the hospital since the beginning of the year. People between the ages of 20 to 35 seem to be the most affected. Most worrisome was the fact that 35 of the 910 patients were pregnant women and 8 other patients showed symptoms of encephalitis.
Currently, the hospital is receiving an average of 70 cases a day in all age groups. The numbers of patients are now outnumbering the beds available and often 2-3 patients have to share a bed.
Dr. Nguyen Tien Lam from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases warns that the rubella virus has a harmful affect on pregnant women and advises women to take any injections 3-4 months before the delivery date. During pregnancy, women should visit nearby medical centers if they see any symptoms of fever with rash.