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Large-scale vaccination campaign to be launched as diphtheria spreads

Vietnam is to launch a large-scale vaccination campaign against diphtheria, starting on July 9, as the contagious disease is evolving in a complex manner in the Central Highlands, with a total of 65 infections, including three deaths.

large-scale vaccination campaign to be launched as diphtheria spreads hinh 0
Taking samples for diphtheria testing in the Central Highlands

The vaccination campaign will be carried out in the four Central Highlands provinces of Dak Nong, Kon Tum, Gia Lai and Dak Lak and two high-risk neighbouring provinces of Quang Ngai and Quang Nam, said acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long.

Priority will be given to children of all age groups who are most vulnerable to diphtheria infection, according to Long.  

The acting minister said the Ministry of Health will quickly dispatch four working teams comprised of experienced specialists to the four affected localities in the Central Highlands to assist with epidemic prevention.

He has assigned Bach Mai hospital and the National Pediatrics Hospital to provide quick training for medical workers in the Central Highlands region.

The Central Highlands region has become the country’s diphtheria hotspot with 65 infections, including three deaths. Dak Nong has so far recorded 25 cases, the highest number among the four affected provinces. It was followed by Kon Tum (23), Gia Lai (16) and Dak Lak (1).

Local authorities have set up check-points to quarantine thousands of residents, however experts feared the number of infections is likely to keep rising in the coming days.

“In the rainy season, cold and humid weather is a very good environment for diphtheria to develop,” said Dang Thanh, director of the Dak Nong provincial Centre for Diseases Control (CDC).

Thanh said his centre has zoned off and conducted massive screenings to early detect new cases, especially those living in far-flung areas.

In response to the Ministry of Health’s request, Central Highlands provinces have mobilized all resources, including personnel, medicines, medical supplies and chemicals, to receive patients and disinfect affected facilities.

Low vaccination rate has been attributed to the diphtheria outbreak in the region. According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, the diphtheria vaccination rate in the Central Highlands region just hoovers around 48-50%, leaving it susceptible to repeated outbreaks.

Gia Lai records three more diphtheria patients amid outbreak in Central Highlands

Three more diphtheria cases were recorded on Tuesday in a rural village in Gia Lai, bringing the total infections in the mountainous province to 13. 

All of the newly discovered cases lived in the ethnic minority village Bông Hiot in Hải Yang Commune, Đắk Đoa District. 

A four-year-old boy in the district has succumbed to the disease which he reportedly contracted after a visit to the neighbouring province Kon Tum as diphtheria infection outbreak in the Central Highlands rose to 56.

A nine-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy in Đắk Nông Province have both died of the disease, and both showed heart complications when they were hospitalised.

Gia Lai health department has asked agencies to step up surveillance efforts to monitor the situation in Đắk Đoa District, quickly suppress outbreaks in the village, and continue to isolate suspected cases to prevent widespread transmission in the community. 

The entire village was put on lockdown, with health workers and local public security personnel setting up checkpoints to watch over all entries or departures. Outsiders can only enter the village in cases of providing food or emergencies but will need to take preventive medicine. 

All villagers have taken antibiotics and were examined by doctors. All those with symptoms of coughing and fever will be brought to medical facilities for treatment. 

Gia Lai health department has asked the local medical facilities to stock up on medicines and equipment and stand ready to receive patients and provide emergency care for not only diphtheria cases but also other types of infections. 

Information campaigns were also ordered to provide correct information to the population and avoid panic. 

The provincial health department has asked the Ministry of Health for 100,000 diphtheria vaccine shots to be given to all people in Đắk Đoa District. VOV/VNS

Diphtheria claims three lives, 34 test positive in central Vietnam

Diphtheria claims three lives, 34 test positive in central Vietnam

The Ministry of Health has asked Central Highlands provinces to take urgent preventive measures against diphtheria after 34 people have tested positive and three have died of the disease there.

Diphtheria vaccination to be offered for under-7 children

Diphtheria vaccination to be offered for under-7 children

All children under seven years old in Việt Nam will be given free vaccination against diphtheria.

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