The Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City confirmed on June 9 that the deadly Enterovirus 71 (EV71) of sub-genotype C4 caused the recent outbreak of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD).
The southern provinces have reported 7,000 cases of HFMD in children, including 24 deaths this year, while last year the disease claimed six lives. Ho Chi Minh City alone reported 27,000 young children suffering from the disease, with 13 reported deaths.
Pasteur institute has conducted tests on 174 HFMD patients in Children Hospital No.1, 2 in HCMC and the southern provinces of Dong Thap, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tien Giang and Long An.
Test results showed that out of 174 cases, 43 were EV71 cases. Five children treated positive for EV71 and succumbed to the disease. Eight toddlers tested positive for EV71 of sub-genotype C4 and two died later.
The Children Hospital No.1 had sent disease samples to a Taiwanese laboratory 15 days ago for testing. Test results showed the EV71 B2 subtype, appearing in the country for the first time, was to blame for worsening patients’ condition.
The death of a 13-year-old boy from hand-foot-mouth disease is a rare case as HFMD usually attacks children under five.
With the disease becoming more unpredictable, the Preventive Health Department of the Ministry of Health, worked with the Pasteur Institute and the Department of Health in HCMC to implement measures to reduce fatality rates.
The Department of Health has set up six inspection teams and a scientific council to review treatment procedures. The health sector will cooperate with educational facilities to control the spread of the disease.
The disease was first spotted in 2004 in the city, when it claimed 24 lives. Twenty-one more died when it returned in 2007. The third endemic is back with a more virulent subtype of Enterovirus 71.