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Others    Rubella at new high (Mar 04, 2011)

The rubella epidemic reached a high point last month, and may last until next month, said deputy director of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases Nguyen Hong Ha.
About 50-100 people a day went to the hospital to check for the disease. Most of them were youths and women aged 20-35.

Nearly 1,000 people have had checks for rubella this year, three times more than the same period last year.

More than 100 were hospitalised, 95 from Ha Noi. The others were from nearby provinces. Five of the hospitalised patients suffered from encephalitis, a complication of rubella. Two of them are under special care.

Thirty five rubella patients were pregnant women.

Symptoms of the disease included high temperature, respiratory inflammation, coughing and rashes over much of the body.

Head of the hospital's virus and parasitology ward Doctor Nguyen Tien Lam said the fever was caused mainly by the rubella virus this year.

Normally, patients recovered after one week but the disease was dangerous for pregnant women.

"If women suffer from rubella in the first three months of their pregnancy, about 35-60 per cent of the new-borns will be hit by heart deformity, brain disease and mental retardation," Lam said.

High humidity in spring provided favourable conditions for the virus to develop and spread, he said

Explaining the reason for the increase, hospital deputy head Ha said, "Many adults thought that because they had been vaccinated against the disease when they were young they would never suffer from it."

In fact, Ha said, the vaccination's effect decreased over time and if people are in contact with afflicted people, they can catch the disease.

"Adults don't need to be vaccinated again but they should be vigilant," Ha said.

The hospital is drafting a document to guide treatment for the disease to be sent to health institutions around the country so patients get proper advice and treatment, Ha said. — VNS

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