Vietnam will not yet declare hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) an epidemic, given the decreasing number of infections, Deputy Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan said Saturday.
Huan made the statement in an online meeting with health officials from six cities and provinces with the highest HFMD infections Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre and Tien Giang.
According to latest statistics from the Health Ministry, more than 2,200 new HFMD cases have been reported in 50 cities and provinces across the country over the last week.
The disease claimed 83 lives among more than 35,000 infections in the country so far this year.
Health officials from the six localities, however, maintained the disease is under control, and the numbers of HFMD infections are going down.
None of the six localities have announced that the HFMD outbreak has turned into an epidemic.
Under regulations, the Health Ministry can announce a national epidemic only after at least two provinces do so locally.
Pham Viet Thanh, director of the HCMC Health Department, said the HFMD outbreak entered its peak in the city last June, with more than 500 cases recorded each week.
At the moment, the number has decreased to 230 cases per week, he said.
"The health department and local hospitals agree that HCMC will not yet declare HFMD a pandemic."
The five other provinces also cited the decreasing numbers of HFMD infections to defend not labeling the outbreaks.