The number of people coming down with dengue fever in Vietnam in the first seven months of 2016 has seen a 260 percent from a year ago, local media reported Wednesday, citing government data.
Nearly 45,000 people have come down with dengue fever so far this year, according to new data released by the health ministry. In addition, Tran Dac Phu, the chief of the ministry’s General Department of Preventive Medicine, told Saigon Times Online that at least 14 people were killed, with infections recorded in 46 out of 63 cities and provinces.
Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as a febrile illness that affects infants, young children, and adults, with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite.
According to WHO, symptoms range from mild fever to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding, and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children.
Dengue is endemic in Vietnam, and though peak transmission occurs during the summer rainy season months, virus transmission occurs all year. In July alone, the number of cases this year has reached 5,500, with two fatalities. Most of the cases have been reported in the central and southern parts of the country.
Last year, Vietnam recorded nearly 82,000 infections in total, including 52 deaths.
In response, the government has asked local governments to take measures to kill mosquito larvae, spray insecticides, and properly equip hospitals to provide treatment and reduce the number of fatalities.
In April, there were reports that Vietnam was among five Asian nations to take part in the trial of a promising new dengue fever vaccine now in its experimentation phase. Assuming trials are completed successfully, the cost of the vaccine is anticipated to be around $50 per shot, with a person needing three shots in six-month intervals.