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Number of rubella cases soar in North

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1 Number of rubella cases soar in North on Sat May 14, 2011 8:20 pm


HA NOI — The number of rubella patients suffering from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, in the capital and neighbouring provinces has risen sharply this year, said Nguyen Trung Cap, deputy head of the Ha Noi-based National Hospital for Tropical Diseases' Emergency Ward.

In the past, rubella patients rarely suffered complications such as encephalitis, Cap said. In theory, only between one and three rubella patients out of 10,000 develop encephalitis.

So far this year, 70-80 patients, or one-third of those treated for rubella at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases have developed serious encephalitis. However, all but four have now been sent home, he said.

Among the symptoms of encephalitis are mental confusion, vomiting, unconsciousness and respiratory inflammation.

Since the beginning of this year, nearly 7,000 people have received check ups at the hospital for rubella – three times more than in previous years. Of those, 260 needed to be admitted for treatment, while 78 involved pregnant women, Cap said.

If women contract rubella in the first three months of pregnancy, about 35-60 per cent of the new-borns will suffer a heart deformity, brain disease and mentally retardation, he said, adding that he did not know why rubella cases were on the rise.

"The best way to prevent the disease is vaccination," Cap said.

Rubella symptoms include a high temperature, headaches and vomiting. — VNS

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