Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City became the real life setting of a would-be medical thriller with an outbreak of dengue fever over the summer.
By the middle of August, a staggering total of 90,626 people had been infected across the country, with 10,000 of those cases reported over the span of one week alone. The number of cases reported increased by 67.8 percent over last year and the areas most affected were Vietnam’s two largest cities.
Many blame a combination of the rise of urbanization where construction sites often leave standing water for mosquitos to breed, warmer temperatures, and more rain, as the reason for an increase in dengue fever. Around their homes, people were encouraged to empty containers of sitting water, but that wasn’t enough.
Throughout the summer, the government conducted large-scale spraying campaigns at night, focusing on busy areas, such as markets, schools, construction sites, and abandoned properties, to combat the problem. During the day, smaller spraying sites included residential areas. Restaurants around Hanoi offered insect repellent in their outdoor seating areas.
Despite the efforts by the government and community, by October more than 148,260 cases of dengue had been documented since the outbreak began earlier in the year. Thirty people died.
The Good News?
In Hanoi and the north, at least, it’s getting cooler, so mosquitos aren’t as active. As a result, since November, the overall number of new dengue cases reported has declined in the capital.
Mosquitos aren’t dead though, so people are still advised to use insect repellent whenever they go outside, wear long sleeves and long trousers to cover arms and legs, and to use mosquito nets while sleeping.
While mild symptoms of dengue fever don’t require a trip to the hospital, those with compromised immune systems, children and the elderly should seek medical treatment if symptoms persist.
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