Strong measures needed to combat HFMD: Ministry

The Ministry of Health has instructed the People’s Committees in all provinces throughout the country to closely monitor and control the spread of hand-foot-mouth disease, as the virus has developed a complicated strain.

Children with the hand, foot and mouth disease being treated at the Pediatrics Hospital 1 in HCMC

The ministry has asked local authorities to take part in the HFMD prevention and treatment drive; prioritise the allocation of more funds for prevention, treatment and control of the disease; set up inspection teams to stamp out "hot" spots; keep an eye on kindergartens and private households; and provide medical clinics in the country with necessary vaccines, medicines and equipment.

On March 1, the Department of Health in the central province of Quang Tri announced the disease had re-occurred in Huong Hoa, Vinh Linh, Hai Lang, Trieu Phong and Quang Tri Districts and in Dong Ha town. The province reported 21 cases of infected children, including two serious cases that have been transferred to Hue Hospital for further treatment.

The central province of Thua Thien-Hue reported 10 cases of HFMD, two of dengue fever and one suffering from inflammatory brain disease. Hong Duc Binh, deputy head of the Department of Education and Training in the province, has sent a dispatch to all schools to step up vigilance, so as to curb spread of the disease.

Since early this year, the central province of Binh Dinh has reported 277 cases of hand-foot-mouth disease with 91 patients still receiving treatment in hospitals.  Most of the affected patients tested positive for Enterovirus 71 (EV71) of the sub-genotype C4 which causes severe complications.

Le Quang Hung, deputy director of the Department of Health in Binh Dinh Province, said VND2.5 billion has been allocated to districts for tackling the disease.

The central city of Da Nang recorded 152 cases of affected child patients, a seven time increase than the same period last year. One toddler in the province has even succumbed to the disease.

Huynh Thi Tam Thanh, deputy director of the Da Nang City Department of Education and Training, has ordered its subdivisions in districts to implement preventative measures to combat HFMD in preschools. Teachers have been asked to inform of any child with sores or blisters on the hands, feet, mouth, and sometimes the buttocks. In case of two students contracting the disease, the class must shut down for 10 days.

Medical experts have said there are no specific treatments, vaccines or cures for the disease. The best is to maintain a clean environment, clean sanitation and good personal hygiene besides sharing information on measures to maintain the above.

The disease has also spread in the Mekong delta provinces. The southern city of Can Tho reported 334 affected children, 10 times higher than the same period last year, including two fatalities.

Dong Thap Province reported that from 500 children that were affected, one has succumbed to the disease this year.

Nguyen Ngoc An, director of the Department of Preventative Health in Dong Thap Province, said that around 80 cases of HFMD receive treatment in the hospital every week.

Vinh Long province in the Mekong delta has 233 HFMD patients since the beginning of the year with one reported fatality. The general hospital in the province has made progress in its healthcare missions as it has succeeded in treating 100 HFMD children, even those suffering from a serious infection of the disease.

By staff writers - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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