Health ministry warns of spring diseases hinh anh 1A child is vaccinated against measles in Hanoi's Cau Giay district. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Health experts are advising people to take precautions to prevent epidemics and diseases that frequently occur in the first three months of the year during the humid weather and crowded festivals, said Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

Common spring epidemics involve acute respiratory illnesses, measles, viral infections, Japanese encephalitis, chicken pox, meningitis and dengue fever.

Phu said epidemics, including dangerous and newly-emerging diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), were becoming more complicated around the world.

A surge in measles cases has been recorded in some countries where the disease had previously been eradicated while some types of avian flu have been reported in neighbouring countries, posing risks of spreading via passengers and poultry imported from infected areas.

These diseases were liable to enter the country unless drastic preventive measures were taken, Phu said.

Luong Thi Thu Hien, head of the Internal Medicine Department at the Hanoi-based E Hospital, said the number of chicken pox cases among children usually rose in the spring.

Chicken pox was transmitted through the respiratory system. Children and adults were easily infected with the disease in the winter-spring season. Complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis could harm patients, she said.

Nguyen Trung Cap, head of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases’ Emergency Department, said the number of flu cases was always high at this time and common among elderly people, pregnant women and children.

The most serious strains are A/H1N1 and B flu, which can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Nguyen Ba Dang, an official from the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine, said spring diseases could turn into an outbreak in areas where people were not vaccinated.

The ministry has urged authorities to increase vaccinations for measles and rubella for children aged between one and five across the country.

It has also encouraged people to take preventative methods such as regular hand washing, the safe processing of food and keeping a clean living environment.

Adults also needed to take children to health centres to make sure their vaccinations were up-to-date, it said.-VNA