Brain-eating amoeba claims 2nd victim in Vietnam

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Doctors in Ho Chi Minh City said that a six-year-old boy has become the second person to be killed recently by a rare disease caused by a brain-eating amoeba.

Saigon Tiep Thi newspaper Monday quoted doctors at the HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases as saying they found the amoeba Naegleria fowleri, which causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, in a sample sent by the Center for Forensic Science.

No further information is available yet and the identity of the dead boy is not known.

Dr Phan Van Hieu, director of the center, which is run by the city Health Department, told the newspaper that an investigation has begun.

The results are expected later this week, Hieu told Tuoi Tre newspaper.

Tran Phu Manh Sieu, director of the Preventive Health Department, told Thanh Nien that he has yet to receive a report on the case.

Earlier this month the Ministry of Health said that a 27-year-old man was the first ever victim of the disease in Vietnam. He had been hospitalized on July 30 and died three days later.

The man, belonging to the central province of Phu Yen, was suspected of contracting the amoeba when swimming in a lake to catch oysters in a village near his hometown.

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Saigon Tiep Thi quoted experts as saying that the two cases proved that the amoeba does pose a threat in Vietnam, but was never detected or mentioned before due to the lack of knowledge and equipment.

The HCMC Hospital of Tropical Diseases had diagnosed the first case only with support from British experts.

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