Experts concern about spread of measles
  • | tienphong, | February 09, 2015 08:43 AM
 >>  Vietnam on alert after measles outbreak

Concerns are growing about a Spring-Summer measles outbreak as more cities and hospitals report infections, raising fears of another epidemic of the highly contagious disease.

Dr. Tran Dac Phu, the head of the Preventive Medicine Department, said that ion the past month, 13 cities and provinces have reported patients suspected of having contracted measles.

The National Hospital of Pediatrics is treating 21 patients, mostly focussed on Hanoi.

In 2014, measles caused the highest number of deaths in Hanoi, when an outbreak infecting 8,500 people killed 114 in four months.

Other infected localities include Bac Ninh, Phu tho, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Quang Tri, HCM City and Dak Lak.


Children with measles were being treated at the National Hospital of Pediatrics in 2014

“We are worried about the resurface of measles during the Spring-Summer season this year like in 2014," Phu said. "Between January and May of last year, Vietnam recorded more than 10.000 measles cases. This is an infectious disease, and Vietnam has been unable to root it out."

National Hospital of Pediatrics data shows most of the measles patients were children aged under 12.

Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said she was worried about the reappearance of measles and has instructed her department to speed up vaccination of children aged between 9 months and one year old.

Tien said the prevailing vaccination model was under review. Currently, vaccinations take place three days a month, which meant children late in receiving vaccination were at risk of infection.

There were also issues relating to low vaccination rates in mountainous and remote regions of Vietnam, with more mobile vaccination units being proposed to reach at risk areas.

Tien said Vietnam should learn from the US experience, where health authorities claimed to have eradicated measles in 2010 only to see it resurface in 2014, largely because a small number of parents were refusing to vaccinate their children against the potentially fatal disease.

A debate is raging in the US over the efficacy and safety of vaccinations as a growing and increasingly vocal lobby campaigns against vaccination of school-age children based on largely discredited scientific evidence that vaccination may harm children, discounting the danger unvaccinated children pose to the health of the wider community.

Tien has been quoted as saying, "Parents need to recognise that vaccinations show their responsibility and love."

She said "parents should trust the quality of measles vaccines" provided in the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation. Some 18.3m children have received vaccinations so far.

Leave your comment on this story