Vietnamese doctors have identified diphtheria as the cause of at least three among a series of recent deaths at a poor mountainous village in the central province of Quang Nam.
Members of the Pasteur Institute from the central beach town of Nha Trang said at a meeting with Quang Nam’s health officials on Wednesday that the virus was the factor killing three locals between July 9 and 12, who were 16, 17 and 26 years old.
Three other villagers died between May 18 and 30 and ten others are being treated at local healthcare centers of similar symptoms – high fever, swollen and painful throat.
Although they have not performed tests on all the victims, the experts said it is all related to a diphtheria outbreak.
But Nguyen Van Hai, director of Quang Nam’s health department, said the outbreak has been under control.
Officials have been spraying the area with sanitizers provided antibiotics to everyone in the area.
Vietnam provides free vaccination against diphtheria for babies from one month old.
But the village of less than 100 people is remote.
Two of the deaths confirmed with diphtheria were daughter and grandson of Ho Van Sanh, who is having a son sick with similar symptoms.
Nguyen Manh Ha, chairman of Phuoc Son District, said that local authorities were only aware of the series of deaths earlier this month when some people from the village came to the commune office asking for money to organize a funeral.