Southern Vietnam records second diphtheria case

By Van Tram, Phuoc Tuan   July 26, 2020 | 08:45 am PT
Southern Vietnam records second diphtheria case
A doctor checks on a family for diphtheria symptoms in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam's Central Highlands, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Oanh.
A 14-year-old boy has become the first diphtheria case reported in Binh Phuoc Province and the second in southern Vietnam, taking the national tally to 126.

Ho Chi Minh City earlier reported one diphtheria infection, the first locality in the south. Diphtheria cases have soared to 119 in the Central Highlands and killed three, while the central province of Quang Tri has recorded five.

The Binh Phuoc patient is an 8th grader from Tay ethnic minority group living in Thong Nhat Village, Dak Nhau Commune, Bu Dang District.

Thirty two people who’d come into close contact with the boy were quaranited and given vaccines Sunday.

His mother had taken him home from school in Phu Rieng District on July 11 for the summer vacation. He did not travel outside his locality. On July 15-17, the teenager had fever, sore throat, fatigue and lack of appetite. He was examined at a private clinic in the commune. He had come into contact with many people and moved around without wearing a mask.

On July 18, the boy was taken to the Bu Dang District Health Center for emergency treatment, with his temperature reading 37.5 degrees Celsius, a slightly red throat and tonsils with translucent white spots.

Both the mother and the patient were quarantined after doctor suspected that the patient got diphtheria. Health officials have disinfected the medical center, the patients' home and neighborhood.

Tests done at the HCMC Pasteur Institute last Friday showed the teenager had diphtheria. The Bu Dang District Health Center transferred him to the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases for further treatment.

Tran Duy Thao of the Dak Nhau Commune Health Center, said: "We have disinfected the surrounding neighborhood and administered diphtheria vaccines for 32 people who came into close contact with the child."

In Vietnam, children under two are given free five-in-one vaccine shots that include diphtheria.

Diphtheria, which can be prevented with vaccination, is an infection caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheria bacterium. It spreads through the air and direct contact.

Symptoms include fever, a sore throat, swallowing difficulties, and white patches in the throat that could block the airway. Complications include myocarditis, kidney problems, respiratory failure, inflammation of nerves, coma, and death.

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