HCM CITY — Meningococcal disease and Japanese encephalitis are “nightmares” for the public and healthcare workers due to the rapid progression of the former that can causing death within 24 hours and lack of treatment for the latter, a paediatrician has said. Dr Đỗ Thiện Hải, internal medicine chief at the Center for Clinical Medicine for Children's Tropical Diseases at the Việt Nam National Children's Hospital, told a press conference in HCM City yesterday that while both diseases could infect anyone, young children are at greatest risk. Because of its rapid progression, 50 per cent of meningococcal disease patients could die without timely treatment, he warned.
The fatality rate for Japanese encephalitis is 20-30 per cent, but 50 per cent of survivors are severely disabled, he said. The treatment cost more than VNĐ29 million (US$1,254) at his hospital last year, he said. The World Health Organization has warned that countries with Japanese encephalitis should maintain high vaccination rates. Hải said, “While you can wash your hands, cover your nose and mouth when coughing and vaccinate to prevent other infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and flu, sufficient and scheduled vaccination is the most effective measure against meningococcal disease and Japanese encephalitis.” The two are hazardous infectious diseases with initial symptoms often similar to that of the common flu, making it difficult to detect them early. In Việt Nam, statistically, they occur mainly due to not getting vaccinated or not getting booster shots.
The Việt Nam Association of Preventive Medicine and Sanofi Vietnam organise a press conference to provide detailed information about Japanese encephalitis and meningococcal disease to mark World Immunization Week, April 24 – 30 and World Meningitis Day, April 24. Photo Courtesy of Sanofi Vietnam
At the conference, delegates shared general information about the two diseases such as the causative agent, symptoms, disease progression and consequences, and the vaccination schedule and preventive vaccines used in the country.
They also spoke about the benefits of new-generation vaccines such as live vaccines, reducing virulence, recombinants the diseases, and others.
They said whichever the vaccine used, the most crucial elements are getting the shots on schedule and enough of them.
The conference was organised by the Việt Nam Association of Preventive Medicine and Sanofi Vietnam to mark World Immunization Week, April 24 – 30 and World Meningitis Day, April 24. — VNS