Washing hands regularly can help prevent virus-based diseases, which have become more prevalent worldwide, heard a seminar on May 19 in Ho Chi Minh City.

"Prevention of virus-based diseases is a topic concerning the health industry, whole society, community, family and individual," said Associate Professor and Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health's Preventive Medicine Department.

Phu spoke during a seminar on preventive measures to adapt to new changes in viruses worldwide.

"According to a World Health Organisation report in 2013, virus-based diarrhea killed 2.2 million people worldwide, accounting for 4 percent of total fatalities," Claire McDonald from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said at the seminar.

Nguyen Dac Khoa, an expert from the department, said that foot and mouth, flu, trachoma and diarrhea were common in Vietnam.

"During May and August from 2010 to 2014, Vietnam had 400,000 flu patients and 250,000 victims of diarrhea," he said.

Viruses can spread more easily in Vietnam because of the tropical weather, poor environmental hygiene, limited individual hygiene, lack of effective specific remedies and preventive vaccines.

These factors can worsen illnesses, especially respiratory, digestive and infectious diseases.

He suggested that everyone perform a simple activity: effective hand-washing with soap regularly every day, to prevent the spread of viruses.

"Hand-washing with soap would eliminate the situation of 80 percent of viruses causing disease through unhygienic hands," he said.

A report from the World Bank showed that an investment of 3.35 USD in washing hands with soap can bring a benefit equal to 11 USD to upgrade toilets and 223 USD to link water supplies to households.-VNA