3 dead as diphtheria outbreak grips southern Vietnam

By Phuoc Tuan   July 14, 2016 | 02:14 am PT
Dozens of locals have developed similar symptoms.

The diphtheria epidemic, which started on June 24 in Binh Phuoc Province (140 kilometers to the north of Ho Chi Minh City), has so far killed three people. All of the victims were under 25 years old.

A local hospital in Dong Phu District has admitted 10 new cases of diphtheria, said health officials, raising the total number of the infections to 47.

The victims displayed all the symptoms linked to diphtheria, including a sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck, difficulty breathing and loss of appetite.

“[We] have asked the provincial People’s Committee to declare an outbreak,” said Nguyen Dong Thong, head of Binh Phuoc Province’s Heath Department.

The Preventive Medicine Center is preparing to distribute antibiotics and give vaccinations to those who are at a high risk of infection.

29 people in the districts of Thuan Loi and Thuan Phu have already developed similar symptoms, and four have tested positive for the disease.

Local health authorities are closely working with the Pasteur Institute and Ho Chi Minh City’s Hospital of Tropical Diseases to take immediate measures to stop the disease from spreading, including testing for bacteria and spraying disinfectant.

Vietnam has managed to contain the disease for years through the national vaccination and immunization program.

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