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Vietnam minister inspects measles containment

HANOI -- Vietnam Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien visited several hospitals in Hanoi on Monday to inspect progress made in containing the measles outbreak that has so far claimed 116 lives nation-wide.

She emphasized that the main reasons for the outbreak were the lack of vaccinations, concentration of patients in central hospitals and a lack of medical staff.

The humid air also provides the virus with an environment in which to spread, she said.

Since the beginning of this year, more than 3,360 cases of the disease have been reported in 61 of 63 provinces and cities.

It has claimed 25 lives so far, mostly children aged below 10 years. A total of 116 deaths have been caused by complications arising from the disease, according to health authorities.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Medical Examination and Treatment Department, informed the press that the Health Ministry is carrying out urgent and drastic measures to contain measles, aiming to reduce fatalities as well as complications.

Hospitals have been asked to quarantine measles patients to prevent the disease from spreading to others, he said.

Anti-measles vaccinations have been stepped up over recent days with 57.5 percent of unvaccinated children given shots during an additional round of the national vaccination campaign.

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