Vietnam sets up hot lines for MERS

To have quick response to information of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health yesterday established hot line at 0984371919 and the website

Meantime, the Hanoi Department of Health has announced the Vietnamese-English hotline at 0969082115 and another at 0949396115 in Korean language through which callers can ask any questions about MERS and receive replies from epidemic consultants.

According to Professor Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, to early detect MERS-CoV infection cases and quarantine patients in hospitals, the Ministry will hold 5 training courses on examination, treatment and how to prevent transmission of the disease to medical workers.

These training courses will be organized in five regions and each class has 100-150 medical workers.

At same time, the Department ordered medical workers of big hospitals including Hanoi-based Bach Mai, the Central Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray, Tropical Diseases and the Central Hue hospitals to hold fresher courses of filtering blood, hemodialysis, and Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) - a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream of very ill babies- to their counterparts in medical centers in districts and communes.

These hospitals that are assigned to receive MERS-CoV patients are asked to set up a special quarantine ward for those people who come to Vietnam from the disease-stricken regions.

Vietnam has yet to detect anyone infected with MERS, which first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

So far, Vietnam has had 10 suspected MERS cases but tests on them have all proven negative, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

Globally, since September 2012, 1,321cases of MERS infection have been confirmed, including at least 465 related deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a recent disease outbreak update. South Korea in the day has 4 fresh infection cases and 2 deaths, bringing the total infection cases to 154 people and 18 fatalities.

According to the WHO, the following 26 countries have reported cases of MERS: Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (Middle East); Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom (Europe); Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt (Africa); China, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines (Asia); and the United States of America (Americas).

By Khanh Nguyen – translated by Uyen Phuong

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