HANOI, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Measles has lay on titles of almost all local newspapers and become hot topic in online discussions on forums or social networks in Vietnam these days as death toll caused by the disease and its complications had risen to 116 on Thursday, higher than that of 108 on Tuesday, local media reported Friday.
Local Dan Tri (Knowledge for People) online newspaper quoted the latest report by Vietnam's Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien on Thursday as saying that as of April 17, over 8,500 measles suspected cases have been reported across the country while 3,136 cases among them are tested to show positive with measles.
A total of 76 percent of patients are children under ten. Most of the cases are not vaccinated or don't have clear vaccination history, said the report.
Measles has spread to 61 out of 63 provinces and cities in Vietnam. Capital Hanoi and southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City remain localities with highest measles-defected patients of approximately 1,062 and 500 cases, respectively.
The report said that some 112 deaths have been caused by measles so far. However, if added with deaths in localities, the death toll will hike to 116.
According to the report, major reason for serious conditions among kids going down measles and high death rate is the fact that parents keep taking their kids to central hospitals. This has caused overloaded situation of these hospitals as well as cross- contamination on pediatric patients.
Head of Vietnam's Ministry of Health (MoH) Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said in her report that the detected cases of this year's measles stay lower than that of epidemic in 2009-2010 period.
However, the number of serious conditions and deaths is higher and expected to increase in the coming time, forecast Tien.
Among 116 deaths caused by measles up to now, some 50 percent of victims are in Hanoi.
When asked why the city has not announced the epidemic when measles-related death toll kept rising these days, Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Health said on local VNExpress online newspaper that the death number of measles patients in Hanoi accounts for only one percent of detected cases.
"Hanoi is still able to control the disease and hasn't needed to announce the epidemic," said Hanh.
Intensive measures have been implemented by MoH and relating ministries to combat the disease.
On Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a decision to provide 12 high-function ventilators to hospitals and over 80.8 billion Vietnamese dong (3.8 million U.S. dollars) to purchase necessary equipments and medicine for the prevention and fighting against the epidemic, said Vietnamese government e-Portal.