The deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City(HCMC) Health Department’s Preventive Health Center, Dr. Nguyen Huu Hung is warning for a possible hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) epidemic in Vietnam this year as the capital city has seen a 28% increase in cases compared to last year, according to Tuoi Tre News report late last week.

Image/United States Army Center of Military History
Image/United States Army Center of Military History

In HCMC, 3,373 HFMD cases were reported in the city from Jan 1 to May 9 with 236 out of the 332 wards, communes, and towns affected.

Nationwide, the disease has spread to 62 of the country’s 63 localities, affecting more than 17,400 people and killing two as of May 13, the Ministry of Health announced.

HFMD is typically a benign and self-limiting disease. Most common in young children, it presents as fever, oral lesions and rash on the hands, feet and buttocks. The oral lesions consist of rapidly-ulcerating vesicles on the buccal mucosa, tongue, palate and gums. The rash consists of papulovesicular lesions on the palms, fingers and soles, which generally persist for seven to 10 days, and maculopapular lesions on the buttocks.

The most common strain of HFMD in Vietnam is EV71. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

EV-71 has been implicated in HFMD outbreaks in Southeast Asia over the several years. EV 71 is a non-polio enterovirus.

Complications associated with HFMD caused by the more pathogenic EV-71 strain include encephalitis, aseptic meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis, pulmonary edema or hemorrhage and myocarditis. Most deaths in HFMD occur as a result of pulmonary edema or hemorrhage.