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Diphtheria outbreaks kill 3 in Quang Nam province

Update: July, 16/2015 - 11:51
A preventive healthcare worker is checking a household in Phuoc Son District where at least three people have died of a disease with symptoms as diphtheria. -- Photo vietnamnet.vn

QUANG NAM — Three people have died, among 13 patients being treated for diphtheria in the mountainous Phuoc Loc commune of Phuoc Son district in Quang Nam province.

The director of the provincial department of Heath, Nguyen Van Hai, confirmed to Viet Nam News yesterday that 13 people in villages 8A and 8B in the commune were reported to have fevers, ganglion inflammations and difficulty eating and drinking, all being symptoms related to diphtheria.

"The situation is under control. All patients have been given good treatments and strict examinations at the hospital and in their homes," Hai said.

Three people believed to have the disease, Ho Thi Nay, 26, Ho Thi Vien, 17, and Ho Van Qui, 16, have died.

The first person suspected to have diphtheria, Ho Thi Nay, died at home last Thursday (July 9th).

Ho Thi Vien and Ho Van Qui were reported to have died at Phuoc Son General Hospital, while officials noted that they had not been brought to the hospital until their symptoms became dangerous.

However, medical samples from two of the dead patients at Phuoc Son General Hospital tested negative for diphtheria. Doctors could not take samples from a dead woman at home, due to objections by the family.

Only one patient tested positive for diphtheria and has been responding to treatment at the district's hospital, while seven patients tested negative for the disease.

Also, three samples have been sent for testing at Nha Trang Pasteur Institute.

According to a team of medical experts and doctors, the two villages were believed to have been where the diseases originated from.

"We have sent a team of doctors and medical staff to take control of the treatment of the disease in the two villages and surrounding areas. We sprayed chemical throughout all households and the nearby environment," Hai said.

"We also gave vaccinations to all residents of Phuoc Loc commune and kept examination records of all cases to assure no additional deaths would occur in the commune," he said.

Medical experts from the department and Nha Trang Pasteur Institute said the disease is spread through communication and touching.

They, however, said patients would recover if they receive timely treatment at medical centres under the supervision of doctors.

The team of doctors and experts have been located at the commune to provide strict control of the situation.

The commune, 110km east of Tam Ky City, is home to over 23,000 people, of whom 70 per cent are of the Mo Nong ethnic group.

The villages, 8A and 8B, have a population of 224 Mo Nong people. — VNS

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