Meningitis in Vietnam metro under control, doctor says

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Meningitis is spreading in Ho Chi Minh City with 11 cases of people being infected this month, most of them children.

The cases have been reported at eight remote districts, five before the Lunar New Year on January 23 and six during the holiday.

Doctor Tran Phu Manh Sieu, director of HCMC Preventive Health Center, told news website VnExpress in a Tuesday report that "All the patients are in stable condition. Their living areas have been sterilized."

Sieu said doctors have not traced back the cause of all the infections and as far as doctors are aware, those infected have not spread the disease to anyone else.

Thus, the scattered cases are under control, he said.

The doctor warned about some hot spots for the disease to spread, including schools, industrial zones and workers' rental houses. The contagious condition spreads through respiratory system.

He advised people to keep better personal hygiene and quickly have an examination if they develop a fever or a sore throat, typical symptoms of meningitis, which is caused by the Neisseria meningitides bacterium and can lead to brain inflammation and blood infection.

Between 10-20 percent of healthy people have the bacterium in the fluid under their throat but the bacterium does not necessarily develop into the disease.

Doctors in the city said the condition affects children throughout the year, but more around the Tet.

Four other cases were reported in Hanoi and the three southern provinces of Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Long An, news website VietNamNet said in a report Tuesday.

All cases are among children, ranging in age from 3.5 months to four years. They are all currently hospitalized and in stable condition.

No deaths have been confirmed as having been caused by the bacterium, but the condition has been suspected of killing an 11-month-old baby from central Vietnam on January 20. Doctors are still testing and have yet to determine the official cause of death.

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