Hand, foot, and mouth disease has Saigon children sleeping in hospital hallway

Children Hospital No. 1 in HCMC has been struggling to accomodate a recent overload of patients with hand, foot and mouth disease.

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The children patients and their family members lie in the hall of Ho Chi Minh City Children Hospital No. 1. Many of the children have been transferred from other localities across the south.
According to the World Health Organization, hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infectious disease caused by enteroviruses
that occurs most often in children under 10, but can also affect adolescents and occasionally, adults. In most cases, the disease is mild and self-limiting, with symptoms including fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters on hands, feet and buttocks.

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Family members wait to register their children at the Department of Neurology-Infectious Diseases on Monday. Since early this month, the hospital has seen a significant rise in the number of HFMD patients.
Doctor Du Tan Quy, deputy head of the department, said on average more than 200 patients are brought for outpatient examination, and 40-50 hospitalized for treatment a day.

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More than 50 doctors at the department have to work nonstop to check for HFMD patients. Many parents have to wait in the hospital yard.

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Doctor Tieu Chau Thy inspects a one-year-old boy with severe conditions. He has suffered convulsion and is now receiving intensive care in the emergency room.
"These days, doctors and nurses sometimes cannot arrange time for lunch because there are just so many patients," Thy said.

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A room of 30 square meters used for treating HFMD patients at the hospital. Normally, two patients must share one bed.

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14-month-old Do Thi Bao Chau has been hospitalized for more than one week. She has blistering rashes all over her body, especially her feet.

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Pham Ngoc Tuyen holds her daughter Nguyen Ngoc Hoai Chau, 18 months old, as her husband waves a fan to comfort the girl.
"This is the first time our daughter got the disease. On the first day, she ran fevers every few hours. On the second day, rashes started to appear, causing her pain. She refused to eat and kept crying so we had to take her all the way from Tien Giang [a Mekong Delta province] to this hospital," Tuyen explained.

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After almost a week of treatment, the son of Truong Thi Cam Phi, a resident in HCMC’s Binh Tan District, started recovering. She has regained her appetite and stopped crying. "She was hospitalized three days ago. Thank God her condition was not so severe," said the mother.

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Huynh Van Tuong and his wife prepare to leave the hospital for their home in Long An Province. Their son had been in hospital for one week.
"We’re so happy he got discharged, yet the doctor said we still have to keep an eye on his symptoms and let him take all the medicine as prescribed," said Tuong.

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