Measles outbreak burdens major Saigon hospital

By Le Phuong   January 15, 2019 | 05:41 am PT
Measles outbreak burdens major Saigon hospital
Patients infected with measles are treated in Saigon's Hospital for Tropical Diseases on January 14, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Le Phuong
One Saigon hospital is treating 60 to 70 measles patients a day, 50 times higher, year-on-year.

The number of measles patients admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Saigon, one of the city’s top public hospitals, has been rapidly increasing within the last three months, said Huynh Thi Thuy Hoa, head of the hospital’s General Medicine Department A. From October to December last year, the number of measles hospitalizations increased from 76 to 270 cases, she added.

"The hospital is currently treating 65 measles cases, in which over half are children and pregnant women. The current number of measles patients doubled from last month’s and is 50 times higher compared to January last year," said Hoa.

The high number of patients has overloaded the department, which has only 55 beds for in-patients, she added.

She said she expected even more measles patients in the coming days and weeks, and the hospital has therefore devised plans to increase the number of beds, relocating children and adult patients to separate areas for better treatment.

Children vaccinated at nine months need to be re-vaccinated nine months later to reinforce their immunity against measles, Hoa said.

In 2014, a measles epidemic broke out in Hanoi with a record-breaking 1,700 cases, of which 14 people died.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that spreads through the air when infected people cough or sneeze. Symptoms include fever, coughing, runny nose, inflamed eyes and red, flat rashes on the skin.

In Vietnam, measles outbreaks are frequent, especially in colder months. In 2016, Vietnam became the fourth country in Asia after Japan, India and China to successfully produce a measles-rubella vaccine on its own.

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