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16 quarantined after man infected with diphtheria in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, June 26, 2020, 13:54 GMT+7
16 quarantined after man infected with diphtheria in Ho Chi Minh City
A child is screened for diphtheria in Dak Nong Province, Vietnam, June 2020. Photo: Tr.T. / Tuoi Tre

Health authorities have isolated 16 people after a 20-year-old man was diagnosed with diphtheria in Ho Chi Minh City.

The young man is being treated at the Military Hospital 175, which is managed by the Ministry of National Defense, in Go Vap District, Lieutenant Colonel Phan Ba Hieu, who works at the infirmary’s ward of infectious diseases, confirmed on Thursday.

The patient was admitted to the hospital about nine days ago with a fever, sore throat, and swollen jaws and neck glands.

A test conducted by the hospital and Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City later showed that the patient was infected with diphtheria.

All areas of the hospital where the patient had visited have been properly sterilized while medical staff who had contact with him have been given medicine, Lieutenant Colonel Hieu stated.

A total of 16 people who came into close contact with the patient at home and school have been quarantined and are undergoing preventive treatment.

The patient is now in stable conditions as he no longer has a fever, sore throat, or swollen glands.

“Diphtheria is a serious infection caused by strains of bacteria called Corynebacterium diphtheriae,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website.

The infection can cause people to get very sick and spread from person to person through respiratory droplets or touching infected open lesions, according to the CDC.

The disease can be dangerous as late diagnosis can lead to serious complications including damage to the nerves, heart, and kidneys, as well as paralysis of the respiratory muscles, and even death, according to Hieu.

It is recommended that people get vaccinated to protect themselves from the disease, he continued, adding that those who have contact with a patient must take preventive medicine.

Wearing face masks is also necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

Ho Chi Minh City is the second Vietnamese locality to report a diphtheria case this year, aside from the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong.

Dak Nong Province has recorded three outbreaks so far.

The number of diphtheria patients in the locality had increased to 12 as of Thursday, according to the provincial Department of Health.

About 750 people have been screened for the disease, 550 of whom have tested negative.

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