Doctors in HCM City hospitals say the number of children afflicted with the hand-foot- mouth disease (HFMD) has increased since the beginning of this week.
Paediatric Hospital No2 has been seeing around 60 children per day with the disease for the last several days.
Around 10 of these children are being asked to stay in the hospital for closer monitoring. In contrast, only four of every 30 children had to be hospitalised last week.
At Paediatric Hospital No1, there were 40 inpatients with the disease last Thursday.
Dr Nguyen Huu Khanh, head of the hospital's Infectious Diseases Ward, said the hospital was facing a constant shortage of beds to treat children with the disease because they could not be accommodated in other wards.
"The disease's peak seasons are from March to May and October to December, but the number of children has doubled this year over the same period last year," he added.
Ninety per cent of the children contracting the disease this year were under five years old, Khanh said, adding children could get the disease even after recovering because there were many kinds of viruses that can cause it.
According to Dr Vu Quang Vinh, deputy head of Paediatric Hospital No2's General Planning Office, children with the disease seldom have serious complications because the coxsackievirus A16 that causes it is not dangerous.
But, in recent years, many children in Southeast Asia with the disease have developed serious complications like encephalitis and even died because the disease is being caused by the far more dangerous enterovirus 71.
Doctors have warned that the peak season for the disease is nearing,and teachers, especially in kindergartens and primary schools, should check children's hands and tongues for the appearance of rashes.
Children's toys, clothes and other tools should be cleaned thoroughly and regularly, Vinh said. When children were found to have high temperatures, they should be isolated in order to limit transmission of the disease and taken to the hospital immediately, he added. — VNS