Diagnosis: WHO official Pascale Brudon says Viet Nam has isolated SARS from the general population. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
VN’s viral outbreak under control: WHO
HA NOI — Viet Nam has significantly controlled the outbreak of atypical pneumonia, with more patients to be discharged in the next few days, though the situation elsewhere continues to be gloomy, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.
Speaking at a press conference in Ha Noi on Wednesday, Prof. Aileen Plant, co-ordinator of the organisation’s team of experts from Australia’s Centre for International Health, who are working on the disease, emphasised, \"the epidemic is very much decreased here.\"
WHO also unveiled on Wednesday its latest report on the disease in Viet Nam, which said that there have been no new cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) here in the past five days.
A total of 48 patients – besides the four dead and six discharged – are currently in hospitals in Ha Noi, it said, adding that 32 of them are recovering well and should be discharged soon.
But, three patients remain in critical condition in the Ha Noi French Hospital, which treated the first known SARS patient in Viet Nam, a man who fell ill during a business trip to Ha Noi, and died in Hong Kong two weeks ago.
Plant added that there was no evidence of the disease’s transmission among the local community at the moment and therefore it was not necessary to put people under home quarantine like in Singapore.
She said that most of the infected patients in Viet Nam were health care workers or people who had very close contact with patients, such as relatives.
Plant also said that the pneumonia virus in Viet Nam was similar to that spreading in Singapore and Hong Kong and that Viet Nam’s ability to contain the outbreak was largely due to the health sector’s proper prevention and cure solutions.
Director of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine, Trinh Quan Huan, added that the ministry learned about the epidemic in China early this year and warned hospitals and border gates about the possible spread of the disease for early preparation.
But he warned that the threat from the disease was still strong given the growing number of new patients across the world.The health sector would continue to remain in high alert to head off any sudden development or outbreak.
WHO’s representative in Viet Nam, Pascale Brudon, reiterated that the organisation had not recommended travel restrictions to any destination in the world despite recent warnings by the US to its citizens not to travel to Viet Nam.
She said that WHO received close co-operation from the Vietnamese authorities in controlling the disease, and in the long-term, it might help the country set up centres to research the epidemic and other tropical diseases in order to cope with similar situations in future. According to WHO statistics, there have been 487 reported cases of SARS – an increase of 31 from Tuesday – and 17 deaths to date across the world. — VNS