Diphtheria kills 2 in central Vietnam

By Son Thuy   January 16, 2017 | 08:55 pm PT
Diphtheria kills 2 in central Vietnam
A child gets vaccinated against diphtheria in the central province of Quang Nam. Photo by VGP
The extremely contagious disease that was mostly eradicated in the country thanks to vaccination has made a comeback.

Two teenagers died of diphtheria in a mountainous area in the central province of Quang Nam, Nguyen Van Hai, head of the local health department, confirmed on Monday.

He said an outbreak struck the Tay Giang high school, which has nearly 800 students and around 70 teachers and staff members.

Among five cases under treatment, two students have died.

Health officials are monitoring 24 other suspected cases, including people who came into contact with the patients.

Symptoms of the disease include fever and chills, difficulty breathing and swollen glands in the neck.

“The situation is temporarily under control... All other students and teachers at the school have been vaccinated against diphtheria,” said Hai.

Medical experts from Nha Trang Pasteur Institute said the disease is spread through communication and touching.

They said patients would recover if they receive timely treatment. The disease quickly becomes serious if the bacterial toxin enters the bloodstream and spreads through the respiratory tract. Even with treatment, death occurs in between 5 and 10 percent of those infected.

The highly contagious disease hit the central province of Quang Nam two years ago, killing three in the mountainous commune of Phuoc Loc, about 110 kilometers east of the province’s capital city Tam Ky and home to over 23,000 people of the Mo Nong ethnic group.

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