The Health Ministry has warned of unpredictable development of diseases and epidemics during the hot summer and urged prompt preventive measures.

At a press briefing on May 29 in Ho Chi Minh City, Deputy Director of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department Truong Dinh Bac said a total of 4,857 cases of measles were recorded in the country since the beginning of this year with most patients being children under 10.

He noted that the number of new measles cases has dropped but close monitoring is still needed as not all children receive full vaccinations against the disease, particularly those in remote areas.

According to the department’s statistics, the national rate of vaccination for children under two reached 96.1 percent, with 49 out of the total 63 cities and provinces achieving 95 percent or more. Twelve others reported vaccination rate of between 90-95 percent.

The Health Ministry plans to conduct a measles and rubella vaccination drive nationwide for all children from 1 to 14 years old in August.

At the same time, the hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue fever are another cause for concern. With a total of 24,730 cases reported in 62 cities and provinces so far this year, the hand-foot-mouth disease has claimed two lives in the southern provinces of Long An and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The Health Ministry reported that 78.5 percent of the cases were in southern provinces.

Meanwhile, 9,011 cases of dengue fever had been registered in 42 cities and provinces by May 18, with more than 83 percent of dengue fever cases in the southern region. Five people have died of this disease this year .

The Health Ministry has been making efforts to improve the prevention and treatment of measles, hand-foot-mouth and dengue fever as well as some newly-emerging diseases in 2014 through the supply of more medicines and equipment to hospitals at all levels. Refreshing courses are also held for medical staff from provincial hospitals.

Up-to-date information about infectious diseases and prevention measures can be found at the Preventive Medicine Department website