Swine flu recurs, other diseases on the rise in HCMC

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The influenza A (H1 N1) virus has reappeared in Ho Chi Minh City after an absence of several months, and other diseases like dengue fever and the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) are on the increase, the local Center of Preventive Health has warned.

At a meeting with local health agencies Wednesday (August 4), the center reported that a six-year-old child who was admitted to the Children Hospital No.2 late last month and died early this week, was found infected with H1 N1 virus.

An eight-year-old girl in District 8, meanwhile, is now suspected of catching the flu, the center said.

Deputy Minister of Health, Trinh Quan Huan, had been quoted by Tuoi Tre newspaper in June as saying no swine flu case had been reported in Vietnam for more than two months.

Meanwhile, more than 1,700 cases of HFMD, including one death, have been recorded in many city districts, especially Binh Thanh, Binh Chanh, and Cu Chi.

The number of affected cases has increased over 20 percent year-on-year, the center said.

It said the Children's Hospital No.1 and No. 2 have both admitted nearly ten children with the disease a day over the past week, adding many were hospitalized with critical complications.

The situation was the same for dengue fever, the center said.

Dr. Nguyen Dac Tho, vice director of the center, said most city districts, including District 1 and 3, had recorded significant increases in the incidence of the mosquito-borne disease in July over June. On average, the increase was at least double the June figures, but some districts have recorded three to four times the number of cases, Tho said.

"The increase in dengue fever cases showed that districts have not controlled the epidemic properly," Le Truong Giang, vice director of the city's Department of Health told the meeting.

Agreeing with Giang, Tho urged districts to tighten controls of various epidemics instead of focusing on one.

"Otherwise, the epidemics will very likely go up dramatically within the next days, especially H1 N1, given that next month is peak season for the disease."

The city's neighboring provinces like Binh Phuoc have also reported increases in dengue fever with 700 cases, including two deaths, so far this year.

To Duc Sinh, director of the provincial Center of Preventive Health, said at the moment over 100 people are being hospitalized with dengue fever every day.

In Dong Nai Province to the northeast of HCMC, more than 1,000 people have been afflicted dengue fever so far this year, and three have died.

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