Public security ministry to investigate tapeworm outbreak: PM

By Phan Anh   March 18, 2019 | 05:59 am PT
Public security ministry to investigate tapeworm outbreak: PM
A child cries while having his blood sample taken to test for tapeworm infections in Bac Ninh. Photo by VnExpress/Tat Dinh
The Prime Minister has tasked the Ministry of Public Security to probe the tapeworm outbreak in Bac Ninh province.

The Government Office Monday released a prime ministerial statement that also asks the Health Ministry to send delegates to Bac Ninh and other provinces affected by the outbreak to carry out preventative measures, instruct the people on good hygiene and food safety practices, and ensure medical institutions prepare necessary resources to treat incoming patients.

The Ministry of Education has been asked to instruct schools to strictly follow food safety guidelines and to encourage students and parents to practice good hygiene.

Provincial people’s committees must also educate people on the tapeworm outbreak and to practice good hygiene and food safety, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc says.

Since last week, thousands of parents have rushed to Hanoi with their kids after news broke out that 57 children of the Thanh Khuong Kindergarten in Thuan Thanh District, the northern province of Bac Ninh have been found with tapeworm infections.

As of Sunday, about 1,700 students in Thuan Thanh had been sent to multiple Hanoi health institutions for tapeworm check-ups, and at least 209 were found to be infected with the parasite.

Late last month, pork suspected to be infected with the parasite was found in the school’s kitchen, but the actual source of the tapeworms has not been confirmed yet.

However, the Huong Thanh Financial Ltd. Co. has been identified as the food supplier to the kindergarten, as well as almost all kindergartens and primary schools in Thuan Thanh.

About 9,500 students from 19 kindergartens and 2 primary schools in the province have consumed food supplied by the company, an investigation has found.

Pork tapeworms, or Taenia solium, are distributed globally. The parasite infects humans through the consumption of contaminated food.

Upon infection, tapeworms can travel to different organs, including muscles, eyes and brain. Symptoms include seizure, paralysis, headaches and memory loss if the parasite does migrate to the brain, or blindness if it gets to the eyes.

It takes a day to kill mature tapeworms and two weeks to destroy all eggs inside a human body.

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