Mystery disease plagues Vietnam
A disease is spreading throughout Vietnam and has claimed the lives of 19 people over the past 12 months.
Vietnam is asking the World Health Organization to help investigate and possibly identify a strange skin condition. Le Han Phong, chairman of the People’s Committee in the Ba To district, says that patients first experience a rash over their bodies, high fever, loss of appetite, and in the most extreme cases, organ failure.
Phong adds that most of the afflicted patients were children. There are nearly 100 that are still hospitalized with about 10 in critical condition, and 29 who have been reinfected. If caught early, symptoms can be contained, but recontamination is still a very real possibility.
The cause is not yet known, and Vietnam is desperately seeking help to learn more about this deadly disease. Dang Thi Phuong, director of Ba To’s health center, states, “We know about the deaths, but because we were yet to identify their causes, we did not report them for fear of scaring local people.”
The Ministry of Health has already conducted an investigation on the disease, but to no avail. The ministry has apparently asked the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help. However, this is unofficial and unfortunately WHO cannot help without an official request. They have also written letters to Vietnam-Russia Tropical Centre and the Ministry of Defense’s health military and chemistry departments to study the disease’s causes.
There have been no results yet. It seems, for the time being, that this will remain a mystery.