Army scientists have ruled out the presence of dioxin or any other toxic chemical substances in the soil or water in Reu Village of Ba Dien Commune in the central province of Quang Ngai, where the bizarre and unidentified skin disease is plaguing local residents.
The Ba To District People’s Committee had earlier sent a document to the Ministry of Defense asking for assistance in finding the cause of the disease. Scientists from the ministry had announced the results after conducting tests of soil and water samples for one month.
According to test results, the stream water that Reu villagers in Ba Dien Commune use for cooking and daily use is heavily polluted from high levels of micro-organisms, said Colonel Dinh Ngoc Tan, president of the Institute of Military Chemical Environment.
Scientists added that other chemicals are still limited, and no traces of dioxin have been found. Content levels of insecticides and heavy metals were also found, but in permissible limits.
Accordingly army scientists warned residents in the commune to boil stream water for daily use as well as clean up the surrounding environment. However, recent tests made on water and soil can be used as reference in finding causes of the disease, said Tan.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nguyen Quoc Anh, director of Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi, said he had examined more than 300 residents of Ba Dien Commune and other patients being treated in Ba To District Medical Center and the General Hospital in Quang Ngai Province.
He concluded that most of the people were suffering from malnutrition and pernicious anemia (few red blood corpuscles or low hemoglobin) which results in a flare up of the disease.
Moreover, disease symptoms in patients vary; some suffer from liver fibrosis, others from liver inflammation, malnutrition, or bleeding in digestive tracts, said Dr. Anh.
According to the latest statistics from the province’s health sector, 239 people have been affected by the disease from April 19, 2011 to June 6, 2012, with 23 fatalities. Currently, 20 people are being treated in hospitals in Quang Ngai Province and the Children Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City.
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