Vietnam health ministry has asked a hospital in Ninh Thuan Province to stop using a treatment for hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) initiated by a physicist until scientific assessments can be made, VnExpress reported Tuesday.
The ministry made the move after local media reported that by using anolyte a solution produced during the electrolysis of salt water -- Dr. Nguyen Van Khai has successfully helped to treat a couple of children in the central province.
The disease has inflicted more than 560 children and killed a fourth child in the province since January.
According to VnExpress, since November 11, Khai, who was the first to introduce ozone technology into Vietnam, has used the solution to sanitize diseased children's clothing and places at Ninh Thuan General Hospital.
He even let children bathe in his solution, drink it and use it to cleanse their mouths, saying that the solution has high capacity to kill bacteria, yet is very cheap, the newswire reported. Khai also used lemon juice and B1 vitamin as treatments.
After using Khai's method, several children are recovering, and their rash and lesions are getting better, the newswire reported.
Dr. Tran Phuc, director of the hospital, said the solution helped to treat the skin symptoms, but the hospital also gave the children other medications because the disease isn't about skin symptoms only.
Vo Dai, vice chairman of Ninh Thuan's People's Committee, also said the province's survey has recognized Khai's method.
However, some experts say the solution's strong capacity to kill bacteria isn't enough to treat the contagious disease, VnExpress reported.
It quoted Associate Professor Tran Hong Con from Hanoi-based University of Science as saying that the solution has a good, antibacterial effect, but its other effects have yet to be recognized.
Nguyen Van Kinh, director of the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases, also said anolyte has been used in various industries, and in health it is only used as a sanitizer.
In August, Ninh Thuan became the first province to declare the HFMD epidemic in Vietnam since it hit the country in January.
So far, HFMD has killed 138 people, mostly children, out of more than 77,000 infections in 63 cities and provinces across the country.
However, the health ministry has yet to declare HFMD an epidemic, although local media keep questioning why it isn't so more money and effort can be poured into disease prevention.
In response, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said that the ministry can announce a national epidemic only after at least two provinces do so locally.