Vietnam is currently battling a furious dengue epidemic, witnessing more than 10,000 new cases (as of 18 August)—a staggering 42% hike in total of cases reported, over the same period last year.

So far, a total of 90,626 people have been infected, of which 76,848 were hospitalised, while 24 people had died from the outbreak.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health expressed that it attributed the sudden rise in the number of dengue cases to the higher temperature and the higher frequency of rain. This is also worsened by the rapid pace of urbanisation, which promotes the breeding of the virus-carrying mosquitoes.

Dengue fever overburdening the healthcare system

With the massive inflow of patients seeking treatment, Vietnam’s medical system and hospital resources are severely overloaded and stretched to their limits.

Hanoi’s National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, which observes the most severe dengue cases, has been seeing between 800 and 1,000 people for people daily. This is in comparison to only a few cases reported in June and July in 2016. Presently, 300 dengue patients are being treated in the hospital.

The hospital also had to convert its meeting room to set up beds to accommodate more patients seeking medical attention.

The areas hit hardest hit in Vietnam are reportedly in Hanoi and the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam’s Health Ministry: “No dengue outbreak yet”

It is understood that however, Hanoi had yet to declare a dengue outbreak. Nevertheless, the city had disseminated information on the disease to the population through the media. Hanoi had also spent VND20 million (SGD1.2 million) to control the situation.

The city’s Health Department deputy director Mr Hoang Duc Hanh further expressed that the city is “still carefully considering the situation before making a decision of declaring a dengue fever outbreak.”

On the other hand, local media reported that Ha Nam, a province about 51km south of Hanoi, had declared a state of emergency on 3 August to deal with the growing outbreak of dengue fever.

More than 10 new cases of dengue infection per day were reported in Ha Nam province. This makes it one of the largest outbreaks in the province’s history.

To keep the situation under control, residents living in the northern Red River province have been instructed to actively clean up potential breeding spots and remove debris piles to landfills.

Dengue fever continues to strike fear in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has also been plagued by dengue, claiming close to 300 lives.

As many as 103,000 dengue cases have been reported in Sri Lanka this year, double than the figure in 2016. As reported by World Health Organisation (WHO), this is also more than 4.3 times higher than the average number of cases for the same period between 2010 and 2016.

The Red Cross is gearing up emergency assistance across Sri Lanka to contain the spread of the mosquito-borne disease. Hardest hit is the country’s Western Province, which accounts for almost half of Sri Lanka’s infections.

Sri Lanka’s last major outbreak was in 2009, when there were 25,000 infections and 249 deaths. MIMS

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