Dr. Nguyen Van Binh, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said on July 12 that the hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue fever have developed in a complicated way that is now afflicting more people and increasing fatality rates.
Since the beginning of this year, the country has recorded more than 63,000 hand-foot-mouth patients including 34 child deaths. Despite a decrease in the number of fresh cases in recent weeks, the numbers are still high with 1,900 people being infected each week compared to 3,000 people per week earlier.
During the first six months of the year, the number of dengue fever patients were 24,000 and 11 of them succumbed to the disease. Apart from this, the Department of Health in Hanoi reported 2,317 hand-foot-mouth and 145 dengue fever cases.
Concerning the unidentified disease in Cambodia which has killed scores of children, Dr. Binh said that Cambodian health officials and the World Health Organization had tested samples taken from 24 patients and found that 15 had tested positive for Enterovirus Type 71 - a common cause of hand-foot-mouth disease that can also cause severe neurological complications, mainly in children.
However, it is still not confirmed if the above virus is the actual cause of the mysterious disease. Accordingly, heath officials have cautioned that the outbreak has not been fully contained as many children continue to suffer from high fever and breathing problems before they suddenly collapse and die.