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Vietnam on alert after measles outbreak
  • By Hong Hai | | January 17, 2015 07:59 PM
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Vietnam health authorities are on alert after an outbreak of measles in areas bordering China and Laos.


Vietnamese people fear return of measles 

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said measles had not been eradicated from Vietnam and was prone to outbreaks from time to time.

Unofficial reports say measles is ravaging areas in Laos near the border with Vietnam and infection rates, and fatalities, were rising.

"We've made contact with relevant authorities in Laos in order to get up-to-date information about the situation so we can take timely prevention measures," said Long.

Cross-border is currently high and, with many infected Laotians coming to Vietnam for treatment, there is a growing risk that the measles outbreak may spread to Vietnam. Measles mostly hits children and can, if untreated, be fatal. Adults who have not been exposed as children and thus do not have the measles antibody, or are unvaccinated, are at high risk of death if they contract the disease.

Authorities in several border areas of China have yet to contain an outbreak that began three years ago, with reports of continuing new infections, Long said.

In order to prevent the spread of disease, the Ministry of Health has developed a measles prevention plan for the 2014-2015 winter-spring season.

"We plan to provide measles vaccination for 23 million children aged from one to 14. So far, nearly half of them have been vaccinated and we expect to eliminate measles when the vaccinaton plan is completed," Long said.

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