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Babies at risk of whooping cough
Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Preventive Medicine(Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s
Department of Preventive Medicine, speaks to the online VietnamPlus
newspaper about the latest wave of whooping cough, which has killed five
Q: In the last two months, there have been more than 55 cases of whooping cough
in Vietnam, mostly in children, according to the Department of Preventive
Medicine. Five have died. How do you rate the development of the epidemic this
A: Whooping cough is a very strong and highly contagious disease of the
respiratory tract, occurring more in cold, humid weather.
We have been monitoring the disease since 2012, and the number of cases has
increased slightly. On average, there are over 100 cases every year. In the
first few months of this year there have been several dozen cases, but mainly
in the cold and wet weather. This is a very weather-sensitive type of
respiratory disease. This also explains why most cases occur in the North. They
are mostly concentrated in the Ha Noi area and the outbreak does not appear
widespread, but we still have to be alert.
Q: So is there anything special about the disease this year?
A: Most patients are children under 3 months old, as in the past. Most of them
are under the age of immunisation or not yet fully immunised.
Q: What kind of solutions does the health sector have to deal with whooping
A: The keys are early detection, isolation, and timely treatment to minimise
Our view is that treatment must first reduce the number of deaths, so that even
if the number of those affected is high, people will not be overly worried.
Therefore, early detection is very important. Medical workers at commune,
district and provincial levels should be able to diagnose the disease correctly
and provide timely treatment to prevent complications.
Medical facilities need to be aware of cases, too, and avoid
cross-contamination. Patients suspected of whooping cough should not be near
Q: What advice do you give to prevent whooping cough?
A: Over the past few years, thanks to good vaccination work, the number of
whooping cough cases and diphtheria has decreased a lot. Parents should take
their children to get vaccinated on time. For women of childbearing age who
have never had whooping cough, the tetanus-pertussis-tetanus vaccine can be
given to immunise mothers and their children. This vaccine is given to people
According to the manufacturer, the vaccine can be used for pregnant women until
the 20th week of pregnancy. However, the Ministry of Health is assigning the
Drug Administration and the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation to
review for specific guidelines.-VNA
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