HANOI (Xinhua): As many as 24 cases of Whitmore's disease including four deaths from the disease have been recorded in central Vietnam's Quang Tri province, local media reported on Tuesday.
The four deaths were 47 to 75 years old, local daily newspaper Tien Phong (Pioneer) cited Quang Tri General Hospital as reporting.
All 24 cases were reported following downpours and floods that struck Vietnam's central region from early October, said the report, noting that the disease is caused by Burkholderia Pseudomallei bacillus found in soil, dirty water or in rice fields and stagnant water.
"The number of Whitmore's disease cases rose due to the spread of the virus in the water caused by recent floods," the newspaper quoted local doctor Le Van Lam as saying.
Normally the hospital records around 10 cases of Whitmore's disease with about one death a year, he said.
Earlier, Hue Central Hospital, a top public medical institution in Hue city, central Vietnam's Thua Thien Hue province, had also reported 28 patients with Whitmore's disease since early October, a sudden increase compared to previous years.
Whitmore's disease can be spread to humans and animals by direct contact with sources of contamination.
First spotted in Vietnam in the 1950s, the disease is a rare dangerous infectious disease in the country as few cases were detected over the past decades. Its outbreak usually occurs in the rain season, especially from July to November.
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