Originally created 08/01/98

Dengue fever claims 166 lives in Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam -- Dengue fever has killed at least 166 people in Vietnam so far this year, four times more than at the same time last year, the government said Friday.

Vietnam's Ministry of Health said nearly 70,000 people have contracted the disease this year, twice as many as at this time in 1997. The mosquito-borne virus was expected to peak during the worst of the rainy season in August and September.

The ministry said hospitals in some affected provinces were reporting overcrowding, with three patients sharing a single bed at some hospitals.

Overall last year, 226 of the 107,000 people who contracted the virus died. Symptoms include fever, joint pain and chills.

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