One more person has succumbed to the bizarre and unidentified skin disease spreading in the central province of Quang Ngai, even as doctors struggle to find the cause of this strange ailment that has been plaguing people in the region.
On April 16, senior doctors at the general hospital in the central province of Binh Dinh confirmed the death of 46-year-old Nguyen Van Dat, a native of Reu village of Ba Dien Commune in Ba To District in Quang Ngai Province, from this rare skin disease.
Dat’s death has now brought the tally to eight since the beginning of the year. All the deaths caused by this unknown disease resulted in multiple organ failure, including severe liver damage.
Previously, a mission team comprising of medical experts from the Ministry of Health had gone to Ba Dien Commune on April 13 to study the causes and development of the disease.
They worked in four groups; each group responsible for testing the environment, the skin disease, congestive disease and haematology study.
The group for congestive disease will study the daily activities and food habits of residents of Ba Dien Commune. Medical workers took hair and blood samples of over 3,000 residents; however, they have not yet come to any conclusions as to the cause of the disease.
Since the beginning of this year, 68 fresh cases have been reported in Ba Dien Commune, each suffering from stiffness of the limbs and ulcers on hands and feet, resembling severe burns and flaking of skin.
Last year the province recorded more than 150 people with similar symptoms; most of them natives of Ba Dien, Ba Xa, Ba Ngac and Ba Vinh Communes.
At present, 39 patients are being treated at the Quy Hoa National Leprosy Dermatology Hospital, four of whom are in critical condition.
The People’s Committee of Ba To District, in addition to calling for help from the Ministry of Health, has sent a request to the Viet-Russian Tropical Disease Centre and the Ministry of Defence, asking for assistance in finding the cause of the disease.