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Monday, July 22, 2024

Experts warn of overlapping epidemics

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Health experts have expressed their concerns over overlapping epidemics as monkeypox, dengue fever, influenza, and hand, foot, and mouth disease are raging.

The Ministry of Health, in a recent report, noted that Covid-19 is showing signs of resurgence, with hospitalizations rising.

Assoc. Prof. Do Van Dung, dean of the Faculty of Public Health under the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCMC, said people have recently become less vigilant and are ignoring the V2K protocol, which means vaccination, masking and hand washing, thereby accelerating the spread of diseases.

Many people think that a Covid-19 reinfection would not be severe, but this is a wrong belief, he said.

If they are vaccinated two or three months before catching Covid, their antibodies will be high enough to prevent an infection. However, if they do not get boosted, the antibody level will drop.

Besides, the transmission rate of Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 outstrips other variants of the virus, namely BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.75. They pose a challenge to epidemic prevention and control activities, putting the country at risk of overlapping epidemics.

Dr. Le Quoc Hung, head of Tropical Diseases Department under Cho Ray Hospital, said the emergence of the new viral mutants and upsurge in Covid-19 cases have laid the ground for the virus to develop and dodge antibody defenses. Therefore, vaccination is not enough to curb the epidemic.

As the virus continues to mutate, an outbreak can possibly occur between September and October this year, Hung said, adding that the long-term effects of Covid-19 and the vaccination efficacy are yet to be fully discovered.

On August 2, the Ministry of Health reported that it is developing response plans in light of monkeypox and has mapped out three scenarios.

In the first scenario, in which Vietnam has not yet recorded any monkeypox cases, the focus would be on drawing guidelines on welcome reception, quarantine, case-type classification and on-the-spot treatment for the disease.

In the second scenario, in which Vietnam has recorded confirmed monkeypox cases, quarantine facilities exclusively for monkeypox would be set up, along with updates on the above-mentioned guidelines.

In the third scenario, wherein the disease has spread in the community, quarantine and treatment areas would be expanded, along with other measures such as self-quarantine, home and case-type classification treatment, setting up emergency response teams, and restrictions on travel.

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