Four people die of rare Whitmore’s disease in North Vietnam

The Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital yesterday warned of high possibility of death from rare Whitmore’s disease as the disease re-occurred and killed four people in August.

Four people die of rare Whitmore’s disease in North Vietnam

Moreover, the fatal disease infected 12 patients including a woman suffering from a severe abscess on her nose.

The case was very rare and the hospital has treated such case for the first time, said Director of the hospitals’ Tropical Disease Center Dr. Do Duy Cuong.

She was misdiagnosed as having sepsis caused by a staph infection at a local hospital. However, tests carried out by the center has shown that her wound was positive for Whitmore bacteria.

The doctors had to completely change the treatment regimen; otherwise the patient could have died as Dr. Cuong said. After two weeks of treatment, her wound in the nose was better.

However, she still undergoes further treatment in at least three months under close watch of doctors; if not, the disease will relapse.

Dr. Cuong added that around 20 cases of Whitmore in five or ten years before but since the beginning of the year, the center has admitted 20 cases; mostly from the northern and central provinces.

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals. The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread.

The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source. Patients developing the disease may die without proper treatment.