>> Dioxin may cause bizarre skin disease: experts
|>> WHO 'concerned' over deadly Vietnam mystery disease
>> Vietnam’s bizarre skin disease remains mystery
>> Two more die of unknown skin disease in Quang Ngai
>> 21 die of bizarre skin disease in Quang Ngai
Health officials in Quang Ngai Province’s Ba To District said they seized 10 packages of medicinal powder believed to derive from roots, branches, and dry leaves.
Chinese labels on the packages say they treat liver cancer. But locals have applied them to the skin disease, which brings about burn-like ulcers on the hands and feet, thickened skin on the palms and soles, and stiff limbs.
The syndrome grabbed international headlines this year, especially after Vietnam sought out the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help demystify the disease.
Since it broke out in April 2011, the skin condition has infected roughly 240 people in Ba To District.
Nguyen Duc Phuong Anh, head of the district Bureau of Public Health, told locals to stop using the Chinese herbs, which don’t fall under a list of medicine approved by the Health Ministry, according to Thanh Nien Newspaper.
Early this month, a CDC expert arrived in Vietnam to work with the ministry, but little progress has been reported.
The ministry has collected roughly 1,940 samples of soil, water, food, hair, fingernails, and skin, as well as inspected more than 200 species of mites, ticks, fleas, and other insects in impacted areas.
The disease has spread to five communes in Ba To district: Ba Ngac, Ba Xa, Ba Vinh, Ba To, and Ba Dien, of which the last has recorded the most cases.
One of them was the most recent death, of 34-year-old Pham Thi Trieu, who came from the commune’s Reu Hamlet and died at the provincial General Hospital on May 30.
In the same month and hamlet, 9-year-old Pham Van T also succumbed to the fatal disease.