Reported cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Vietnam have reached 1,700-1,800 per week, the same number during last year's peak.
Nguyen Van Binh, chief of the Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine, said the cities and provinces with the most new HFMD cases include Hanoi and Hai Phong City in the north, Da Nang City, Khanh Hoa, Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai provinces in the central region and Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Thap, An Giang and Binh Duong provinces in the south.
Tran Thanh Duong, Binh's deputy, said the most important tasks were to raise public awareness about hygienic measures which can be taken to prevent the HFMD virus from spreading and to improve treatment of infections in order to minimize fatalities.
"Hospitals nationwide should store Gamma globulins injections which are usually given in an attempt to temporarily boost a patient's immunity against disease to treat serious HFMD cases immediately, instead of transferring them to other hospitals due to a lack of the injections," he said.
HFMD has claimed the lives of 11 children in Vietnam this year among more than 12,400 reported infections as of March 10.
Health authorities have expressed serious concerns over the development as no fatalities were reported during the same period of 2011, when there were also only one seventh the infections 2012 has seen.
So far this year, the disease has spread to 60 of Vietnam's 63 cities and provinces.
Tran Ngoc Huu, chief of the Pasteur Institute Ho Chi Minh City, said that last year HFMD was mainly caused by the EV71 C4 subtype, but the World Health Organization has said there is not enough evidence to prove the virulence of HFMD subtypes.
Last year, the disease claimed 169 lives among 112,000 infections.