Human fertilizer spreads parasitic worms in Vietnam: expert

Thanh Nien News

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The habit of eating fresh vegatables increases risks of worm infection. Photo: D.H. The habit of eating fresh vegatables increases risks of worm infection. Photo: D.H.
Nearly half of the people in the Red River Delta are infected with parasitic worms due to the habit of using human excrements as fertilizer for crops, according to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology.
“It is estimated that Vietnamese people lose 1.5 liters of blood and 15 tons of food every year to parasitic worms,” the institute director Tran Thanh Duong said at a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on June 14 to launch a nationwide campaign on the treatment of parasitic worms.
People often forget about the infection because the symptoms are not easy to recognize as acute infectious diseases, Duong said.
“But it can cause serious problems besides harmful impacts on physical and mental development among human,” he added.
According to the 2011 survey of 86 million people in 54 cities and provinces, nearly 18 percent were infected with parasitic worms and 33 million others face infection threats.
The Red River Delta has the highest infection proportion with nearly 48 percent of the population, followed by the northern mountainous region with 41 percent.
The Mekong Delta has the lowest infection proportion at 8.7 percent.

Tran Thanh Duong (R), director of the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology, at the launch of a nationwide campaign on the treatment of parasitic worms on June 14, 2014
 
Duong said anyone can be infected with worms if they do not practice diligent sanitary habits.
“Living in polluted environment and lacking awareness of personal hygiene have led to a high number of infections; children being the most vulnerable to the parasites. Long-term infections lead to a lack of blood, iron and other nutrient elements, hindering the growth of children.”
“More seriously, they can be fatal among people with weak immune system,” he said.
Duong said people should choose clean vegetables and wash them carefully before eating, as Vietnamese people have a habit of eating fresh vegetables.
The campaign “worm treatment 6116” launched on June 14 calls for people to take medication to treat worms at least twice a year, on July 1 and January 6.

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