Da Nang medical authorities have warned of a dengue fever pandemic during the ongoing storm season, in a year when the central city has already seen 1,400 cases over the first 10 months, with one proving fatal.

The city's Preventive Medicine Centre director Ton That Thanh confirmed to Viet Nam News yesterday that the figure represented a four-fold increase over the same period last year.

Worryingly, dengue outbreaks went into overdrive in November and December last year, with 1,000 new cases discovered.

The director said 2013's 11th storm, which swept the city over the last two weeks, spreading over 25,000 tonnes of garbage and debris across Da Nang, would spark an alarming number of dengue cases.

He said four types of dengue had been found and another outbreak would hit the city over the next two months.

"From our experience, the appearance of four dengue types would lead to a widespread pandemic," Thanh said. "We have readied urgent programmes and preparations of equipment, medicine, medical staff and emergency vehicles."

A chemical spraying campaign and communications on maintaining a clean environment have been disseminated throughout the city on a weekly basis to prevent disease from spreading in November and December.

According to the city's Preventative Medicine Centre, Da Nang saw 6,000 cases of trachoma this year, while 2,000 children contracted hand-foot-mouth disease.

In the same period last year, the city saw 2,333 children in 56 communes and districts contract hand-foot-mouth disease, one of whom died as a result.
The number of trachoma and hand-foot-mouth disease patients had declined since September, according to the Centre.

As many as 6,000 children in the central city have been injected with Quinvaxem shots, helping to hold back the tide as only four patients contracted a fever after receiving the injection since vaccinations resumed on October 24.

The vaccine, which was suspended in early May following the deaths of nine children, has been reapplied as part of the National Expanded Programme for Immunisation nationwide.

The vaccine prevents five common, potentially fatal childhood diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza type B.

"We have strictly controlled the vaccination process," Thanh said. "Children commonly suffer a fever after the injection and they have been treated with pain-killers at home under the instruction of medical staff."

He added that around 100 children receive vaccinations across 56 health centres every day.

Since being reintroduced on October 26, 32 children in southern Tien Giang's Cai Lay district have been hospitalised with fevers and hives after receiving the five-in-one Quinvaxem vaccine.-VNA