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Seven villagers struck by mystery sickness

Update: March, 06/2013 - 03:00

DA NANG (VNS) — The mysterious disease that afflicted hundreds of people in Quang Ngai Province seven months ago has returned, with seven residents of the province's Ba To district reported to be suffering from the condition, a provincial health official announced.

The news has triggered concern among health officials as the disease, which is similar to dermatitis on the palms and soles of the feet, was believed to have been brought under control last August.

Le Huy from the Quang Ngai health department told Viet Nam News yesterday that the latest patient was a 60-year-old woman from Ba Dien commune – 50km southwest of Quang Ngai city.

She was sent to the district's General Hospital for a check-up after suffering breathing difficulties and liver and kidney failure.

"The hospital's doctors diagnosed that she has the same problem as her fellow villagers last year," Huy said.

Her daughter and grand-daughter died from the same disease last year.

Under the existing treatment methods issued by the Health Ministry, the patients have ointment applied to their affected skin and take medicine to ease the pain.

A group of doctors from the health department and the Ha Noi-based Dermatology and Venerology Hospital paid a working visit to Ba To and Son Ha districts yesterday to collect samples of the disease from patients for further analysis.

The ailment has affected a total of 215 people so far, mainly in Ba Dien village. Twenty-three of them died.

Doctors and experts from the Ministry of Health have been puzzled by the unidentified skin disease since the first case came to light in Ba To District in 2011.

In a workshop last June, health experts said most patients were diagnosed with breathing difficulties, traumas to the liver and kidney and elevated liver enzymes, as well as suffering from skin peeling off their feet and the palms of their hands.

Most patients of the ailment were from mountainous Ba To, but neighbouring Son Ha district has also been hit by the disease. — VNS

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