Medics add nutritious food supplements to tackle mysterious skin disease

Medical workers in Ba To District in Quang Ngai Province have come to the conclusion that most of the indigenous ethnic minority groups suffering from the mysterious and as yet unidentified skin disease also suffer from acute malnutrition, hence are supplementing their diet with more nutritious foods.

Although many medical teams have come and gone from the district, the unidentified skin disease plaguing Ba To District in the central province of Quang Ngai continues to elude Vietnam’s public health officials and medical researchers.

However, one unanimous conclusion is that the skin disease could be cured by better nutrition.

Accordingly the National Institute of Nutrition in coordination with Pasteur Institute in Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa and the Department of Health in Quang Ngai Province have distributed nutritious food supplements to all residents in Ba Dien, Ba Ngac and Ba To Communes.

Children below the age of five will receive confectionary, frog protein flour while adults and children above the age of five will be given multi-vitamin tablets and other nutritious food products.

Apart from this, patients already suffering from the skin disease will be provided additional and special nutritional products, which are expected to help strengthen the body's defenses within two months, said Dr. Nguyen Thi Lam, deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition.

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Health, the   number of afflicted skin disease patients number more than 230, most of who are Ba Dien Commune residents.

At present, the ministry is struggling to contain the number of patients affected by this baffling skin disease. Food samples tested by medics found mouldy fungus and Aflatoxin in rice which was nearly five times higher than in other areas.

Aflatoxin, a toxic fungus, is recorded in medical documents in the world for causing chronic and acute liver damage. In addition, test results of samples of spring water and soil taken from the commune in Son Ha District showed contamination of ‘Glyphosate’, a broad-spectrum herbicide used to kill weeds.

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By K. Nguyen - Translated by Nha Uyen

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