Health ministry orders investigation into cause of suspect COVID-19 related facial bone infections

July, 18/2022 - 09:25
The Ministry of Health has ordered the HCM City Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology and Chợ Rẫy Hospital to set up a professional committee to clarify the cause of bone infections (osteomyelitis) in the skull, jaw and face of patients with a history of COVID-19.

 

A doctor visits patients with unknown osteonecrosis of the jawbone at the HCM City Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has ordered the HCM City Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology and Chợ Rẫy Hospital to set up a professional committee to clarify the cause of bone infections (osteomyelitis) in the skull, jaw and face of patients with a history of COVID-19.

The ministry’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment made the request following the news that some hospitals in HCM City discovered many patients with abnormal infections in the skull, jaw and face after contracting COVID-19.

The department called on the directors of the two hospitals to promptly report on the situation of patients with osteonecrosis of the jaw.

A professional council must be set up to clarify the cause of the disease and the factors involved. All results must be reported to the department as soon as possible.

The department requires hospitals to pay attention to receiving, examining and treating patients, and have accurate, scientific information, as well as measures to avoid confusion and instability among patients.

Previously, a dozen patients suffering from abnormal jawbone necrosis with unknown causes have been reported at Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City over the past two months.

The disease mainly occurs in patients with a history of COVID-19, diabetes and taking corticosteroids.

At the HCM City Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology, patients have been hospitalised since February 16 with the disease, including three patients with necrosis of the upper jaw that spread to the skull. These patients have been transferred to Chợ Rẫy Hospital for further treatment.

So far, 11 cases have been found at Chợ Rẫy Hospital in the past two months. These patients have suffered from necrosis of the skull and maxillofacial bone, as well as inflammation and abnormal sinuses.

The patients were admitted to the hospital with headaches, nasal congestion, and swelling of the face and eyes; all had a history of COVID-19 (Delta strain).

Approximately 50 per cent of these patients had diabetes. Two deaths have been recorded so far.

Currently, there is no evidence to prove that the recent cases of osteonecrosis in the skull, jaw and face are caused by COVID-19.

Trần Minh Trường, former Deputy Director of Chợ Rẫy Hospital and Vice President of the Vietnam Otolaryngology Association said: “We cannot confirm that all of the cases are caused by COVID-19 as this is only an initial speculation and based on clinical factors.”

“But from May 2021 to May 2022, there were about 80 reports in India, China, Asian countries, Europe, and the US of pneumonia cases, bone marrow and skull necrosis, and sinusitis related to COVID-19, similar to the cases at Chợ Rẫy,” he said.

Final results will be publicly announced.

There have been no recorded cases in Hà Nội so far. — VNS

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