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6 vials of WHO-supplied emergency botulism antitoxin arrive in Vietnam

6 vials of WHO-supplied emergency botulism antitoxin arrive in Vietnam

Thursday, May 25, 2023, 14:33 GMT+7
6 vials of WHO-supplied emergency botulism antitoxin arrive in Vietnam
A vial of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent

Six vials of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent (BAT) shipped by the World Health Organization (WHO) from Switzerland arrived at Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital on Wednesday to treat botulinum poisoning cases, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday evening.

At present, the botulism patients who are being treated at Cho Ray Hospital and Gia Dinh People’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City are in critical condition.

One patient died shortly before the antitoxin arrived in Vietnam.

However, the antitoxin will be used for possible botulism cases in the future as the two patients at Cho Ray Hospital have missed the best time to use it.

The best time to use BAT is 48-72 hours after being poisoned.

Meanwhile, it has been 10 days since the two patients started showing botulinum poisoning symptoms.

Vietnamese Minister of Health Dao Hong Lan had earlier asked the Drug Administration of Vietnam to quickly work with the relevant units of the WHO and Vietnam to have botulism antitoxins to treat the patients.

Minister Lan on Tuesday afternoon also directly worked with the WHO office in Hanoi and the organization decided to supply emergency botulism antitoxins to Vietnam.

The three patients in Ho Chi Minh City were hospitalized on Saturday after two of them, who are siblings, aged 18 and 26, ate cha lua (Vietnamese pork sausage) and the remaining 45-year-old man consumed fermented fish kept for too long.

The 45-year-old man died, while the two others are now put on ventilators.

In mid-May, three siblings, aged between 10 and 14, contracted botulism after eating cha lua in Ho Chi Minh City as well.

They were saved after taking botulinum antitoxins shipped from central Quang Nam Province.

Botulism is a serious illness caused by clostridium botulinum, a poisonous bacteria which grows in badly preserved food. Botulism is a rare disease in Vietnam and in the world, according to the Drug Administration of Vietnam.

As such, the supply of BAT is also limited worldwide, the administration said, adding that the price of this antitoxin is very high.

Botulinum has seven types -- A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. There are currently three kinds of antitoxins for the neurotoxin available.

Two of them are effective against some types, while BAT is effective against all seven types, said Dr. Le Quoc Hung, head of the tropical disease department at Cho Ray Hospital.

Botulinum poisoning cases can avoid paralysis and the dependence on ventilators if they use BAT within 48-72 hours after being poisoned with botulinum.

In 2020, the Ministry of Health also asked the WHO for the supply of botulism antitoxins to treat some patients poisoned after eating vegan pâté.

The WHO later sent 10 vials of BAT to the country for treatment, saving the patients.

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Thanh Ha - Duong Lieu / Tuoi Tre News


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