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Vietnam battles dengue fever as cases rise 42%

Vietnam's health system has been stretched by an outbreak of dengue fever, with more than 10,000 new infections reported over the past week.

The number of admitted patients represents a 42% increase over the same period last year, along with seven more deaths, the ministry of health said.

A total of 76,848 people were taken to hospital out of 90,626 cases of infection, with 24 having died.

The ministry attributed the rise of dengue outbreaks to higher temperatures, more rains and rapid urbanisation, which promotes the breeding of virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Dr Vu Minh Dien of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi, where the most severe cases are being treated, said that 800-1,000 people have been checking in daily complaining of fever.

This compares to only several cases reported to the hospital in June and July last year, he said.

Dr Dien said some 300 dengue patients were being treated, stretching the hospital's resources.

There is no cure for any of the four strains of the mosquito-borne virus that causes high fever, exhaustion and in some cases a vicious skin rash. Patients most at risk of dying are the elderly, children or those with other medical complications.

Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City are the hardest-hit.

The government has urged residents to actively engage in killing mosquitoes and mosquito larvae, particularly at construction sites and housing for workers.

Dr Dien said: "The joint efforts by the people as well as our political system in searching and eliminating mosquito larvae, emptying water containers, which are fertile for larvae to breed, and spraying chemicals to kill mosquitoes are key factors to curb dengue fever."



From Belfast Telegraph