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Thais urged not to panic over mysterious skin disease in Vietnam

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BANGKOK, 24 April 2012 (NNT) – The Public Health Ministry has urged Thai people not to panic about the discovery of a severe skin disease in Vietnam, saying it is not an epidemic.

The mysterious skin disease has claimed 19 lives in Vietnam so far. Thai authorities are keeping an eye on travelers from Quang Ngai, Vietnam.

In response to the concerns expressed by the World Health Organization (WHO) over the issue, Disease Control Department Director-General Pornthep Siriwanarangsan has told Thai people to remain calm as the disease symptoms do not indicate it could become an epidemic. He explained the disease was discovered in 2011 but only 150 people have been infected; therefore the spread is considered slow.

Mr Pornthep elaborated that the disease has only been found among farmers in Quang Ngai and that it causes liver failure, which has led to death in some cases. He suspected that the disease might have been caused by toxic chemicals in the soil.

He also added that the disease is unlikely to spread to Thailand as Quang Ngai is not a tourist destination. However, to ensure safety, all hospitals have been told to keep a close watch on patients with skin symptoms during this period while disease control authorities are also following reports from the WHO. Hotline number 1422 is now available for any questions about the disease.

Read more: NNT


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