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Vietnam Struggles to Contain Nationwide Dengue Fever Outbreak

An ongoing nationwide dengue fever outbreak has health officials scrambling to halt its spread.

On July 19, VnExpress reported that 5,300 dengue fever cases had been recorded in the Hanoi region this year, with the capital's National Hospital for Tropical Diseases admitting 200 dengue patients per day over the two weeks leading up to that date. That rate was four times higher than during the same period last year.

What really concerned doctors, according to the news source, was the number of deaths related to the mosquito-borne illness. Nguyen Van Kinh, the facility's director, shared that five people have died from brain hemorrhages after contracting dengue this year, compared to just one or two during the same stretch of previous years.

The Mekong Delta has been particularly hard-hit, according to VietnamNet. The number of dengue cases in the region in the first two weeks of July jumped by 125% over the same time period last year. The Can Tho Pediatrics Hospital treated 165 patients during that span, while An Giang province reported 120 hospital cases. Soc Trang and Dong Thap handled 110 and 100 hospital cases each.

Bui Hung Viet, head of the Dengue Fever Department at the Can Tho hospital, blamed the increase in cases on new weather patterns. Dengue infections used to spike during the rainy season, but the disease is now present all year thanks to climate change and off-season rain.

The most recent national statistics, meanwhile, show that 58,246 dengue fever cases were recorded in the first seven months of this year, up nearly 10% from last year. 17 of these patients have died, VietnamNet reports in another article.

[Photo via Flickr user Tom]

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