An eight-year-old primary school student in the central province of Quang Nam has died of diphtheria, while six other students aged four to 12 have been infected with the disease in the mountainous Tra Van commune of Nam Tra My District.
A doctor vaccinates students at a primary school in Nam Tra My District in Quang Nam. — Photo courtesy Quang Nam Portal
Director of the provincial health department, Nguyen Van Hai, confirmed to the Viet Nam News yesterday that Ho Bao Phu died on October 3 after six days of treatment at different hospitals in Quang Nam and Da Nangcity. Six students from the same school are being treated at the commune’s health centre since September 29, and gradually recovering.
Hai said the disease was discovered at the school of 199 students, of which 148 are boarders, in late September.
Ten students reportedly had fever, ganglion inflammation and difficulty eating and drinking, all being symptoms related to diphtheria. Doctors and medical staff from the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute took 10 samples from seven students (one of whom subsequently died) and their relatives for testing. The test results showed that only seven students were infected with the disease.
Deputy director of the provincial Preventive Medicine Centre, Tran Van Hoan, said the rate of residents in the commune who receive the DPT vaccine, a combined vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus was still low. He said that although each person in the mountainous and remote area was vaccinated once, booster injections are required every five years.
The provincial health department will undertake a mass DPT vaccination campaign among kids aged one to four throughout Nam Tra My and neighbouring Bắc Trà My districts. Meanwhile, those aged five to 40 in Tra Van commune will be given a TD vaccine (tetanus-diphtheria), while teachers and students at the school will get prevention drugs for the disease, according to the provincial health department.
Chemical spraying and environmental cleaning measures were also conducted in the district.
The province’s health department also assigned a team of doctors and medical staff to take control of the treatment of the disease in the commune and surrounding areas.
In January, two students died of diphtheria at a boarding school in Tay Giang District in the province.