Vietnamese officials are now requesting international aid in researching and combating a strange and frightening disease that has re-emerged in the central province of Quang Ngail. The disease was previously documented last year when it broke out in April and subsided in December. Already, over 200 people have been affected by the ‘skin disease’ reporting the symptoms. 19 individuals so far have already been killed as a result of being infected.
All that is known about this mysterious and potentially fatal disease is that the symptoms first appear on one’s hands and feet.
After some time, the infected person may die as a result of liver problems or even multiple organ failure induced by this disease.
The disease seems to only be transmitted through fluid contact with exposed wounds.
This disease has greatly befuddled officials from the Ministry of Health in Vietnam.
Deputy Health Minister Thanh Long stated that the “disease is challenging as we have not identified the root causes”. Long also pondered why the disease was “causing deaths and failures inside internal organs . . . if it is just an external skin disease?”
While frightened people in the affected areas and villages work to isolate the infected and even hold rituals & prayers, health officials have been trying to find more about the disease and combat it.
So far, early treatment is effective however the disease may not be treatable if it progresses too far.
The seriously ill have been sent to be treated at a leprosy hospital in the nearby province of Binh Dinh while the less seriously infected are being held in quarantine or examined by doctors.
Speculation has been rampant about the causes behind the disease among which vengeful spirits, chemicals or even biochemical weapons are included.
While Vietnamese health officials wait for the first results of its tests whereupon they can hopefully find out more about the disease within the next 10 days, requests for help are also being sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) and even the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Vietnam has been in an unfortunate state of affairs lately as it continues to fight severe outbreaks of deadly or strange diseases.
For example, this year, officials are estimating that the rate of infants being infected by the hand, foot and mouth disease may increase.
Already, more than 6,000 infants have been infected with 9 dead so far. Just last year in 2011, the disease killed 166 and affected more than 110,000, an overwhelming majority of whom were young children.