QUANG NGAI — An unidentified dermatological disease has killed eight people since early this year, causing growing concerns among the residents of central Quang Ngai Province's Ba To District.
|A boy with an unidentified skin disease with a doctor. The country's leading experts have yet to identify the disease, which has claimed eight lives since the beginning of the year.— File Photo
Doctors have been left baffled as to how to treat or even diagnose the disease.
Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Health Ministry's Medical Services Administration, who led a team of medical experts that arrived to the province last Thursday, said that they were attempting to discover the root cause.
We have dispersed medical experts to survey the area. They have been divided into four areas of expertise: skin-related diseases, gastro-intestinal health, food hygiene and general safety, Khoa said.
This is the third time ministry officials have made health inspections. So far, however, they have failed to find any localised sources of infection.
The last victim, a 46 years old, from Ba Dien Commune, a region with the highest amount of sufferers of the disease, was pronounced dead on Monday.
According to local health agencies, 164 people have contracted the disease since last April, and 68 since the beginning of the year.
As many as 63 patients have been treated in the Quy Hoa National Leprosy Dermatology Hospital, located in central Binh Dinh Province.
The symptoms ranged from skin disorders to multi-organ failure, especially those involving the liver.
According to health experts, the fatality rate is extremely high among patients who show signs of multi-organ failure or digestive haemorrhage.
Symptoms include swelling and itching between the fingers and toes. After four to seven days, patients may experience thick or chapped skin, or even hair loss within two weeks.
Nguyen Thanh Tan, director of the hospital, said that the disease developed quickly and was difficult to treat.
As far as short-term prevention, he said that it was very important that local people be provided with a fresh water supply.
In a related move, the local health department conducted a two-day examination of over 1,400 local people in Ba Dien Commune, which started last Friday, to diagnose and provide early treatment of the disease and to contain its spread. — VNS