Vietnamese patients with bleeding disorder test positive for rat poison

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A girl is examined at the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion in Hanoi after she developed bleeding gums for unknown reasons. Photo courtesy of Voice of Vietnam

Two northern Vietnamese patients suffering strange bleeding for unknown reasons have tested positive for warfarin, an anticoagulant used in many kinds of rodenticides on the market.

The test results provided by Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology suggests that the toxin was the culprit of around 20 similar cases in the region since November last year, including nine from one province Bac Giang in recent months, said doctors from the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, which is hosting the two patients.

Gum bleeding has been one of the main problems, besides bleeding under the skin, or gastrointestinal bleeding for unknown reasons.

Nguyen Thi Mai, head of the Hemophilia Department at the Health Ministry's institute, said several families of the patients used rat poisons, news website VnExpress reported.

Further investigation, including tests of water and soil samples, is needed to find out how the poisoning happened, but the highest chance is that bodies of the poisoned rats had polluted water sources, Mai said.

One patient ate meat from a dog that had eaten a rat poison trap, she said.

The patients came from Hanoi and the nearby provinces of Hoa Binh, Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang, many of them family members and neighbors.

Some of them had to be re-hospitalized several times as the condition recurred soon after they were discharged.

The youngest patient was 13 months old.

Doctors said blood coagulation disorders can be fatal when occurring in internal organs or the brain.

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