Unidentified disease spreads in central Vietnam

TN News

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A strange skin ulcer that has plagued the central province of Quang Ngai since April is showing no sign of lessening as another 18 people have been hospitalized, bringing the total cases to 79, including one death.

The provincial health department on Friday said the disease, alleged to be caused by plant protection chemicals, now isn't limited to Ba To District, but has already spread to Minh Long District.

In addition to ulcers that look like the aftermath of severe burns on hands and feet, new patients have suffered ulcers in their mouths, on their backs and bellies, the department said.

Tests on several patients also found that their levels of blood, blood calcium and proteins were lower than normal, while their liver enzymes were five to 10 times higher, according to a report on Vietnam News Agency Friday.

Dr. Tran Hau Khang, who led a team from the Ministry of Health to survey the disease earlier in October, said in the news agency that while initial findings concluded that the disease was caused by patients' contact with plant protection chemicals, they have yet to identify the exact cause.

The disease started in Ba To District in April and as of October 6, it had affected 61 people, mainly laborers between 16 to 49 years old.

On May 10, an 8-year-old girl who suffered from the condition died. Doctors said she was injected with toxics through the burns that caused multiple organ failure.

Meanwhile, most of the previous patients are recovering after proper rests together a dietary regimen, Vietnam News Agency reported. Some patients have received serum therapy along with proteins and B vitamins.

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