Chickenpox outbreak increases hospital admissions

HANOI, Vietnam — An outbreak of chickenpox is hitting Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi as the number of infected children admitted to hospitals in big cities has increased significantly, the Voice of Vietnam reported March 15.

Infections at Ho Chi Minh City’s Children Hospital No. 1 so far this month have been up by 42 percent over the same period last month, physician Nguyen Thi Bich Lien said.

Many of the patients were hospitalized after Tet holiday, she says. Some of them had lung and skin complications because of a delay in receiving treatment.

In Hanoi, there were five serious cases of chickenpox in February, said Pham Nhat An, head of the infection department under the Central Paediatrics Hospital.

“We cannot determine the real number of infected children because with light cases children get treatment at home. Parents only send their children to hospital when the situation is really bad,” An said.

According to Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infection-nerve department at the Children Hospital No. 1, the first symptom of chickenpox is a light fever, with a red rash appearing on the face after several days. Vaccination is the only effective way to prevent the disease, he said.