|Doctors examine one of the two children in Thuong Cuu Commune. — Photo vnmedia.vn
PHU THO (VNS) — The health ministry's General Department of Preventive Medicine has identified the disease that two children in the northern Phu Tho Province's Thuong Cuu Commune are suffering from as Xeroderma pigmentosum.
The commune had recently reported that an unidentified disease had killed eight persons under the age of 20 from two families since the 1980s, and was now affecting two children in one of the two families.
The two female children are Ha Thi Nuong, 9, and Ha Thi Cuc, 3.
Ha Thi Ben, 71, the grandmother of the two children, said the children developed dark spots on the sun-exposed areas of their skin when they were one month old.
After hearing the report, a team of medical experts from the health ministry, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Viet Nam National Hospital of Paediatrics, and the National Dermatology Hospital in Ha Noi, visited the commune and examined the two children to identify the disease on Monday.
Doctors from the National Hospital of Paediatrics took DNA samples of the two children for tests, Deputy Director of the hospital Tran Minh Dien said.
The hospital gave VND5 million (US$230) to the children's family, he said.
Medical experts said Xeroderma pigmentosum, commonly known as XP, was a genetic condition characterised by extreme sensitivity to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This condition mostly affects the eyes and areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun.
The experts said if people contracted the disease, the areas of skin exposed to the sun would be damaged and become discoloured.
People with XP have an increased risk of developing skin cancer and death.
Medical experts said people with the disease should not expose their skin to the sun.
They should wear sunblock cream, sunglasses and clothes to cover their whole body to avoid exposure to sunlight. — VNS