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Whitmore’s disease outbreak kills four in central Vietnam province

Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 13:03 GMT+7
Whitmore’s disease outbreak kills four in central Vietnam province
Residents are seen walking through floodwaters in Vietnam. Photo: Quoc Nam / Tuoi Tre

A streak of extreme flooding starting from October has given rise to Whitmore’s disease, also known as melioidosis, in central Vietnam, resulting in 24 cases of infection and four deaths in the central province of Quang Tri.

The Quang Tri Province General Hospital on Tuesday announced that it has logged 24 cases of Whitmore’s disease since October, with four declared dead from the ailment.

Out of these four, the first fatality recorded is N.V.B, a 51-year-old hailing from the northern coastal city of Hai Phong.

He was a crew member of Vietship 01, a vessel that malfunctioned and sank in early October.

After being rescued from the ship, B. was hospitalized and received medical care at a hospital in Quang Tri, where he was diagnosed with melioidosis.

The three other deaths were reported as 75-year-old H.V.V., 62-year-old N.T.L. and 47-year-old H.C.D., all of whom were from Quang Tri Province.

The hospital normally logs around 10 cases of melioidosis infection per year, but the number has soared after extreme flooding hit the locale, an officer said.

Whitmore's disease is an infectious and fatal disease caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei.

The bacteria are found in contaminated water and soil and spread to humans and animals through direct contact with contaminated sources.

Melioidosis infection commonly involves the lungs, causing pneumonia, high fever, night sweats, weight loss, bloody sputum, and pus or blood in the lung tissues.

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Xuan Tung - Quoc Nam / Tuoi Tre News

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