Dengue hits adults in Ho Chi Minh City as doctors warn of misdiagnosis

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Doctor Nguyen Thanh Truong of the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases examining an adult patient diagnosed with dengue fever. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Doctor Nguyen Thanh Truong of the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases examining an adult patient diagnosed with dengue fever. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Doctors have warned that they're seeing an alarming rise in the number of dengue fever cases among adults, many of which are misdiagnosed.
Patients admitted to the hospital for the mosquito-borne disease have significantly increased since July and many are adults, said Dr. Nguyen Thanh Truong of the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
“Many people still mistakenly believe that adults are totally immune to dengue, which has led to serious complications,” he was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying.
Truong said the hospital recently admitted a 25-year-old man suffering difficulty breathing and liver damage after he was mistakenly diagnosed and treated at a private clinic for influenza.
He had spent eight days receiving intravenous fluids.
At the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, doctors discovered the liver damage and treated him for high blood pressure caused by the erroneous transfusions, Truong said.
In another case, the hospital admitted an adult on August 12 with serious complications caused by internal hemorrhaging and multiple-organ failure.
The number of dengue fever patients at the hospital increased from 817 in June to 1,042 last month.
Meanwhile, the city’s hospitals also recorded an increase in dengue fever among children.
Children's Hospital No. 1 and Children's Hospital No. 2 have recently admitted a combined average of 90 pediatric cases a day.
Dr. Trinh Huu Tung of the Children Hospital No. 2 said the hospital has seen many serious cases in the past month.
Doctors have warned hospitals throughout the country to be keep a careful eye out for dengue fever.
A survey at the Children Hospital No. 2 found that the parents of roughly one in every three dengue fever patients mistakenly believed their children had only contracted a sore throat or minor digestive ailment.
“Any child who has a high temperature for three days has likely contracted dengue fever,” said Dr. Nguyen Tran Nam of the hospital.
Doctors said patients suffering protracted fevers should head for the hospital early because dengue fever can cause serious complications that appear suddenly--4-6 days after symptoms begin.
On August 3, the Hospital for Tropical Diseases admitted a four-year-old child from the Mekong Delta province of Long An for such complications.
The child had been misdiagnosed and treated for flu by a private doctor.
The child died two days after being admitted to the HCMC hospital due to severe cerebral hemorrhaging.

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