Vietnam to vaccinate 400,000 children against cholera
HANOI — Vietnam plans to vaccinate 400,000 children in the capital against cholera, and officials warned Wednesday that cases of acute diarrhoea could flare up again after an outbreak sickened thousands last year.
Nearly 2,000 acute diarrhoea cases were reported in Hanoi and 12 other provinces and cities in October and November, of which 295 cases tested positive for cholera, the state-controlled Vietnam News daily said.
The health ministry, which declared the epidemic under control in December, has approved funding to vaccinate 400,000 children aged over 10 in areas of Hanoi where the outbreaks struck hardest last year, state media reported.
No deaths were reported from the outbreak of cholera, an intestinal infection spread by bacteria in drinking water or food that causes watery diarrhoea and can be deadly in severe cases of dehydration and kidney failure.
Dozens more cases of severe acute diarrhoea have been reported in Hanoi this month, but none have tested positive for cholera, health officials said.
The health ministry warned that good personal and food hygiene are essential to containing the diseases ahead of the Tet lunar New Year in February.
"There is a high risk of a new outbreak of acute diarrhoea during Tet as food consumption will go up rapidly," Nguyen Van Binh, deputy director of the Preventive Medical Department of the Ministry of Health, told AFP.
The World Health Organisation reported two human deaths in neighbouring Laos in early January after a cholera outbreak sickened about 180 people in the country.
Agence France Presse - January 16, 2007.