A doctor examines a baby for dengue fever at the Children's Hospital No.1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Duong Ngoc
Heath experts warn that mosquitoes in Vietnamese cities have exhibited an insecticide-resistance at the same time that climate factors have extended the dengue fever season year-round.
Mosquitoes carrying the virus have exhibited signs of resistance to several common insecticides, said Tran Thanh Duong, head of the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, during a Wednesday meeting in Hanoi.
Duong said the disease has killed at least four among the more than 8,000 people infected this year and will grow increasingly hard to manage since Vietnam hosts four strains of the virus.
People who develop immunity to one remain vulnerable to others, he said.
Duong said the disease has become active during all seasons due to climate and environmental changes.
Traditionally, the illness peaked in the south during June (the start of monsoon season) and in September in the north.
Duong said dengue fever has been considered an urban disease due to a dramatic surge of infections in large cities and rapidly urbanizing areas.
Health officials in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest metropolis reported more than 2,600 dengue fever cases this year, up nearly 28 percent year on year.
They've also warned that the disease may see its peak turn, this year, in its three- to five-year cycle.
The city health department is conducting sterilization and larva destruction campaigns through June.
Similar campaigns have been planned in Hanoi during June and July.
The disease infects an average of 50,000 people a year and causes an average of 40 casualties.
Vietnam has been testing a dengue fever vaccine provided by Sanofi Pasteur of the multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
With no vaccine available yet, Vietnam launched a program last year to alter mosquito body structure by introducing mosquitoes that carry Wolbachi, a bacteria that has been linked to viral resistance.
A pilot project saw success on an island off the coast of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province, a dengue fever hot spot.
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