Woman dies of Whitmore's disease in central Vietnam

By Dac Thanh   October 23, 2023 | 06:39 pm PT
Woman dies of Whitmore's disease in central Vietnam
A doctor works on testing samples for melioidosis, also known as Whitmore's disease. Photo by VnExpress
A 43-year-old woman hospitalized in the central Quang Nam Province for fever and diarrhea has died after testing positive for the bacteria responsible for melioidosis.

Also known as Whitmore's disease, melioidosis is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria, with the fatality rate of around 40%.

The Quang Nam Department of Health said Monday that a couple of weeks ago the Tam Tri Quang Nam General Hospital received the patient from Que Son District with high fever, fatigue and breathing difficulties, diagnosed her as having severe pneumonia and monitored her for sepsis.

She also had type 1 diabetes and heightened blood sugar levels.

But despite doctors' best efforts her condition deteriorated, and she was transferred to the Da Nang Hospital where she died.

Tests revealed she had contracted Burkholderia pseudomallei.

Her cause of infection is unknown, and none of her family members had the disease.

Last month a 15-year-old girl in Thanh Hoa Province died of melioidosis after developing symptoms like sore throat, cough, high fever, respiratory circulatory failure, cyanosis, and loss of consciousness.

People contract the disease after coming into contact with soil or water contaminated with the bacteria and have open injuries on their skin.

The disease was first spotted in Vietnam in 1925.

There are around 10,000 cases worldwide every year, mostly during the rainy season, around half of which prove fatal. There is currently no vaccine against it.

Doctors treat the disease with multiple courses of antibiotics over several months.

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