Vietnam has new unit to deal with strange diseases

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Vietnam's Health Ministry has established a unit to prevent and control strange new diseases that have been recorded here over the last few decades, an official said.

More than 30 new diseases have been reported in Vietnam over the past 30 years, and the new Steering Committee of New Diseases will focus on the most problematic of the bunch, Nguyen Van Binh, head of the ministry's Preventive Health Department and a member of the new unit, told Tuoi Tre in an article published Wednesday.

Binh said there were several reasons for the new diseases: changes in weather, environmental conditions and pollution, population pressure, and global transport. But another important reason is that innovative technologies have helped discover new diseases, he said.

He listed HIV/AIDS, bird flu, swine flu, and hepatitis as among the "new" diseases that have been heavily influential in Vietnam.

"The priority of the new unit is to quickly and effectively prevent and control all diseases whose causes have not been identified, including cancer."

The official said diseases transmitted through the respiratory system and from animals would be top priorities.

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