Acute diarrhea epidemic ravages northern Vietnam

Acute diarrhea outbreaks have occurred in 10 northern localities, with Hanoi being the hardest-hit area, a local health agency reported.

Preventive Health Department Head Nguyen Huy Nga said on Wednesday that 85 patients had tested positive for cholera, with 44 cases reported in Hanoi alone.

Tran Thi Phuong Thuy, a doctor from the Hanoi-based National Institute for Tropical and Infectious Diseases, said 103 patients with acute diarrhea are currently being treated on site.

Three other Hanoi general hospitals – Xanh Pon, Bach Mai and Dong Da – also admitted a total of 110 cases of acute diarrhea.

Recent tests conducted by the institute revealed the presence of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which causes the cholera disease, in water from canals and lakes in Hanoi and other northern provinces.

Warmer temperatures associated with the changing of the season heighten the bacterium resistance and increase the potential for the disease to proliferate.

Nga said water sterilization measures have been implemented at infected canals and lakes.

Last December, the Ministry of Health announced a 40-day acute diarrhea epidemic in 13 northern localities had been controlled.

That outbreak totaled 1,991 reported cases, of which 295 tested positive for cholera.

Vietnam contains acute diarrhea outbreaks

HANOI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Vietnam has basically contained an acute diarrhea after it has hit the country for over one month, local newspaper Labor on Tuesday quoted Vietnamese Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan as saying.

    The number of new infection cases admitted to hospitals sharply decreased last weekend. Only 12 patients, including a cholera one, were admitted to the Tropical Disease Hospital and four to the Bach Mai hospital in capital Hanoi.

    To eliminate the disease, Vietnam has taken drastic measures, including monitoring food safety, ensuring environmental hygiene and intensifying publicity on acute diarrhea, especially in food-hit localities.

    Acute diarrhea has affected over 1,800 people in Vietnam since Oct. 23. Of the patients, 267 have been tested positive to cholera virus, according to the ministry.

Vietnam may contain acute diarrhea outbreaks in next 5-7 days

HANOI, Nov 15, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) — Vietnam is likely to contain acute diarrhea outbreaks in the next 5-7 days, if it well remains measures to combat the disease, local newspaper Young People on Thursday quoted head of the country’s Central Hygiene and Epidemiology Institute Nguyen Tran Hien as saying.

The number of new infection cases has sharply decreased in recent days. Some localities have basically contained the disease.

Vietnam has taken drastic measures, including monitoring food safety, ensuring environmental hygiene and intensifying propaganda on acute diarrhea, to eliminate the disease.

Acute diarrhea has infected 1,803 people in 14 out of 64 cities and provinces in Vietnam since Oct. 23. Of the sufferers, 231 have been initially tested positive to cholera virus, according to the Vietnamese Health Ministry.

Vietnam takes urgent measures to control acute diarrhea

HANOI, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) — Vietnam has taken drastic measures, including monitoring food safety, ensuring environmental hygiene and intensifying propaganda on acute diarrhea, to eliminate the disease which has infected 1,713 people in 14 out of 64 its cities and provinces since Oct. 23.

    Of the infection cases, 226 people, including three foreigners from the Philippines, Belgium, and Japan, have been initially tested positive to cholera virus, according to the Vietnamese Health Ministry.

    “If measures to ensure food safety, environmental hygiene and patient management are not well taken, the acute diarrhea outbreaks will become more serious, and fatality rate will be high,” said Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan.

    To eliminate the disease, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked the ministry to lead a multi-sector task force in taking firm and immediate measures to improve food hygiene.

    He has asked local relevant agencies and people to focus on disinfecting water for domestic use, inspecting food safety in markets and restaurants, eating cooked food, drinking boiled water, washing hands with soap, and suspending the use of unsafe foodstuff such as raw shrimp paste, seafood salad, and raw-blood pudding, which are thought to be sources of the disease.

    Besides, an anti-acute diarrhea steering committee set up by the Health Ministry has conducted an overall food inspection in northern provinces, which have been most severely hit by the disease.

    The ministry has required the central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, which often provide raw shrimp paste to northern localities, to stop transporting the foodstuff, and distributed some 200,000 free disposable glovers to food sellers in 11 affected localities. It has planned to continue the distribution in high-risk provinces, including flood-stricken ones.

    In addition to strengthening the monitoring of the food safety, Vietnam has focused on fostering surveillance on the disease, and keeping environmental hygiene.

    Chairpersons of provincial People’s Committees will have to take responsibilities if the disease spreads in their localities, according to a message issued by the government recently.

    The prime minister has directed to set up working delegations led by cabinet members to inspect anti-acute diarrhea activities, especially in flood-hit localities in the northern and central regions. Next week, the eight delegations will go on business.

    Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has planned to improve surveillance on the disease at border gates, train and bus stations. It is scheduled to establish surveillance forces to detect people having symptoms of acute diarrhea at the spots, and encourage them to stop their trip and come to hospitals for checks-up.

    The ministry has also paid due attention to disinfecting areas housing patients, ensuring sources of clean water for domestic use, and conducting safe disposal treatment.

    Regarding propaganda on acute diarrhea, the prime minister has assigned the Health Ministry to disseminate treatment guidelines to hospitals and infirmaries, and cooperate with the Ministry of Information and Communication in publicizing instruction on the disease prevention.

    Local authorities have distributed leaflets and informed on loudspeakers about the disease situation and prevention ways, and established hot lines to receive information about new outbreaks from citizens.

    Besides, the country has provided free treatment to acute diarrhea patients, and called for assistances from international organizations in controlling the disease. The Health Ministry has asked the World Health Organization to help it find out how long the cholera virus can survive in the environmental conditions in Vietnam.

    Ignoring the relevant agencies’ warnings about the disease, some local people kept their unhygienic eating habits. It is not difficult to catch a sight of dozens of people sitting in tiny plastic stools just meters from the sidewalks eating their favorite noodle with non-quarantined fowl meat and raw vegetables, despite of smoke and dust from hundreds of vehicles in a crowded street.

    “I know that it is not safe when eating in such restaurants, especially in the times of disease outbreaks as now. But, I have no other choices. It is suitable to most of students like me,” said Nguyen Thu Ha, 20, from the Hanoi Economics University.

Editor: Sun Yunlong

Two foreigners infected with cholera in Vietnam

HANOI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — A Belgian female tourist and a Japanese person have contracted cholera in Vietnam, which has hit 202 people in the country, local newspaper Pioneer reported Monday.

Specimens from the 36-year-old tourist, who vomited many times and had diarrhea after traveling from southern Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi capital, was initially tested positive to cholera virus. Sheis now being treated at the Hanoi-based Tropical Disease Hospital.

Some foreign tourists in the same group with her have shown similar but less serious symptoms. They, after flying from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, have traveled to northern Quang Ninh province.

The Japanese person, who earlier ate tofu and raw shrimp paste and drank beer in a street-side restaurant in Vietnam, was initially reported to have contracted cholera virus. The person’s health is recovering.

Now, specimens from the two foreigners are being thoroughly tested for cholera virus at the country’s National Epidemiology and Hygiene Institute.

Acute diarrhea have infected over 1,600 people in 13 cities and provinces in Vietnam, of whom 202 have contracted cholera viruses since Oct. 23, said Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Vietnamese Health Ministry.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked the ministry to lead a multi-sector taskforce to monitor food hygiene and control the disease, especially in flood-hit areas.
Editor: An Lu

More than 150 cholera cases in Vietnam: state media

HANOI (Reuters) – A cholera outbreak in northern Vietnam has affected more than 150 people, the first such spate of cases in three years, state-run newspapers reported on Saturday.

The ruling Communist Party’s daily Nhan Dan (People) quoted Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu as saying 1,378 people have suffered acute diarrhea, 159 of whom tested positive for cholera bacteria.

The reports did not say whether anyone had died in an epidemic of acute diarrhea since October 23 in 13 provinces and cities out of 64 in Vietnam, where the last widespread cholera outbreak was in 2004.

Health ministry officials could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper quoted Nguyen Tran Hien, head of the National Hygiene and Epidemiology Institute, as saying the epidemic “erupted at the same time in many places, progressing rapidly and with symptoms typical of cholera.”

He said the diarrhea epidemic had passed its peak and the number of patients was falling in Hanoi.

“But it is difficult to confirm this trend in other cities and provinces,” Hien said.

Cholera is transmitted by contaminated water or food.

Hien said all patients during the first week of the epidemic ate shrimp paste, but more fell sick later without touching the sauce.

t its most acute, cholera causes diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration and kidney failure.

Vietnam has been fighting various diseases this year, including dengue fever that has infected 75,200 people and killed 64. Bird flu has killed four people and authorities have also reported “blue ear” disease in pigs.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; editing by Grant McCool)

Acute diarrhea patients in Vietnam rise to over 1,200

HANOI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) — A total of 1,216 people from 13 cities and provinces in Vietnam have been confirmed to contract acute diarrhea since the disease started hitting the country on Oct. 23, of whom 157 have been tested positive to cholera virus.

On Thursday alone, the country detected 165 new infection cases, including 47 from Hanoi capital, 41 from northern Ha Tay province and 20 from northern Hung Yen province, local newspaper New Hanoi on Friday quoted Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the Preventive Medicine Department under the Vietnamese Health Ministry, as saying.

To prevent the disease’s spread, the ministry has asked relevant agencies and people to focus on monitoring food hygiene, disinfecting areas housing patients, and suspending use of raw shrimp paste in processing food.

Editor: An Lu