The Ministry of Health has set up five inspection teams to examine the prevention and treatment of hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease, which is entering its peak season.

According to Director of the General Department of Preventative Medicine Tran Dac Phu, the teams will focus on localities with large numbers of recent HFM cases, including Ho Chi Minh City and Ca Mau province in the south, and Kon Tum and Dak Lak provinces in the Central Highlands.

Since the beginning of 2014, 17,410 HFM patients have been recorded across Vietnam, with two deaths in the provinces of Long An and Ba Ria - Vung Tau. The majority of cases, 14,254, have been registered in the south.

Phu said that HFM cases usually increase from March to May and from September to December.

He also warned that there have not been any vaccination programmes against the disease, meaning an outbreak is inevitable if drastic measures are not carried out swiftly.

To cope with the situation, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen has ordered local health departments and hospitals to devise HFM prevention plans.-VNA