HCMC on cholera alert, more cases reported

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Health agencies in Ho Chi Minh City fear a cholera outbreak may be brewing as two more cases were reported on Friday, one day after the city recorded its second cholera case of the year.

One of the two new patients, a 29-year-old woman from District 8, had noodles at a street stall in front of Hong Bang Secondary School in District 5 with her friend before falling sick, according to HCMC Department of Health.

Her friend, 25, had become the city's first cholera patient of the year on Tuesday before transmitting the disease to her two-year-old son, who was admitted to HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases on Thursday.

Local health officials, have yet to determine where the fourth patient, a 21-year-old patient from District 5, contracted the acute intestinal infection.

All the patients were recovering well, HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases said.

As of Friday, another three patients with severe diarrhea were awaiting their cholera test results, according to the hospital, adding that it had admitted 110 patients with diarrhea so far this year.

The HCMC Department of Health has ordered district health agencies to tighten control of water and food sources, and specialists have been assigned to be on call twenty-four-seven to deal with any cholera patient promptly, Phan Van Nghiem, representative of the department told Thanh Nien.

Nguyen Tran Hien, head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, warned that inclement hot weather and the lack of clean water in the city were increasing the chances of a cholera outbreak.

Last month Hanoi also reported its first cholera patient, a 28-year-old woman from Tay Ho District.

The Mekong Delta Province of An Giang had reported seven cholera cases and 38 acute diarrhea patients in January,.

Severe outbreaks of cholera infected hundreds of people in northern Vietnam in 2008 and 2009.

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