VietNamNet Bridge - Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that many new diseases have appeared in recent decades, with SARS, A/H5N1 influenza, MERS-Cov, A/H7N9 influenza, and Ebola in the past ten years and they are big threats to Vietnam.

The Ebola outbreak in Africa has been out of control. So far this year, the continent has recorded 4,422 cases, including 2,261 deaths. The mortality of this dangerous disease can range from 24% to 89%. Vietnam has not recorded any cases, but the risk exists.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has even announced a state of emergency for global health security and accepted risk when approving the use of new drugs that had not been tested on a large scale in order to curb the epidemic. Yet, all efforts seem to be not enough, as the morbidity and mortality from Ebola virus continues to increase rapidly.

In addition to Ebola, in recent decades the world in general and Vietnam in particular had to cope with new dangerous diseases like SARS in 2003 and then A/H5N1 influenza, MERS-Cov, and A/H7N9 flu. Some diseases have entered Vietnam, like SARS or A/H5N1 influenza, with a few cases a year, but the mortality rate can be up to 100%.

"Of the newly emerging diseases, we are paying special attention to MERS-Cov, Ebola, and particularly type A/H7N9 flu in the upcoming winter-spring. The Ministry of Health has reminded local governments about some of the winter-spring diseases," said Deputy Minister Long at a seminar on the sidelines of the Conference of ASEAN Health Ministers in Hanoi yesterday.

Vietnam is located in an area that is sensitive to all infectious diseases, he said. ASEAN countries have very dynamic and developing economies, and tourism and trade activities make the region more vulnerable to infectious diseases. In addition, many ASEAN countries such as Vietnam lie in the tropical area, with natural conditions suitable for infectious diseases.

Dealing with newly emerging infectious diseases is really a great challenge. The causes of many diseases are still unknown. For Ebola, the etiology has been determined, but the possibility of diagnosing the disease is limited. Currently, the WHO certifies only nine laboratories worldwide that can confirm Ebola cases.


Le Ha