A number of scarlet fever cases suspected of measles have been recorded in the northern provinces of Son La and Hoa Binh, said the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Health Ministry on September 6.

Fifty cases were reported between August 15-30 in Van Ho district, Son La province while 93 others were seen from August 18 to September 4 in Hang Kia commune, Mai Chau district, Hoa Binh province. Most of them were from the Mong ethnic minority group.

The department attributed poor access to health care services and a low measles vaccination rate to a high risk of an outbreak of the disease.

In response to the situation, the local health care sectors have rolled out a number of measures, including strengthening supervision over the disease to soon detect infected cases and immediately vaccinating children aged from 1-14.

The Health Departments of Son La and Hoa Binh have also increased mobile vaccination points in remote villages and communes as part of efforts to give vaccinations to ethnic minority people, while strengthening communications on preventive measures against measles.

Earlier this year, nearly 4,000 measles cases were reported across 61 out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide, mostly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children. The disease, which is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family, kills about 330 people every day or 14 people every hour.

Measles vaccinations resulted in a 78 percent drop in deaths between 2000 and 2012 worldwide, said the organisation.-VNA