Twenty-four doctors and residents have been exposed to HIV after providing emergency assistance to the victims of a fatal collision between two coaches in Kon Tum Province, in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, last week.
The accident killed four victims, one of whom was later discovered to be infected with HIV.
The provincial Department of Health said on Sunday that a total of 17 health workers and doctors as well seven local residents had assisted in giving first-aid treatment and transporting the victims to the hospital.
All of them had direct contact with the patients’ blood without proper protection, leaving them exposed to the virus, said Dao Duy Khanh, director of the health department.
The agency has provided free consultation, screening tests, and ARV medicine for all 24 people at risk, Khanh said, adding that their conditions would be monitored over the next three months.
Thorough procedures have also been carried out to sterilize the body of the deceased victim who had HIV along with his belongings.
Local authorities praised those who risked their safety to save the victims.
According to reports, the accident happened at around 1:00 pm on Friday last week along a section of the Ho Chi Minh Highway in Dak H’ring Commune, Dak Ha District, Kon Tum.
A 16-seater coach, operated by Dong Tien Transport Cooperative, was traveling from the central city of Da Nang to Kon Tum when it rammed another managed by the Tay Nguyen Cooperative running in the opposite direction.
In the crash, Tran Thi Mo, 51, and Le Van Duc, 28, were killed instantly. Two other victims succumbed to their injuries at the Kon Tum Province General Hospital on Saturday morning.
Nearly 10 other passengers suffered minor wounds.
Local authorities have provided over VND7 million (US$308) in support of the family of each deceased victim and VND2 million ($88) for each injured passenger.
The two coaches are both heavily distorted after the head-on crash. Photo: Tuoi Tre