Amid heavy flood and storm season, central provinces recorded more cases of Whitmore’s disease. From the beginning of the year to September, the General Hospital in Da Nang admitted only 4 cases of Whitmore’s disease; however, from October 1 to November 26, 28 people have been diagnosed with the disease in the hospital.
Most patients hail from the central provinces of Quang Nam, Nghe An, Quang Ngai and Da Nang. Two of them with underlying condition succumbed to the disease.
One of patients infected with melioidosis, also called Whitmore's disease, is Duong Van Thanh hailing from Dai Loc District of Quang Nam Province. He remembered that after wading in floodwaters and mud to clean the house after flood for days, he had high fever; therefore, he was rushed to the local hospital where transferred him to the General Hospital in Da Nang for further treatment.
The symptoms of people with Whitmore’s disease are fever, headache, cough, shortness of breath, disorientation, and pain in the stomach, muscles or joints.
People typically become sick between one and 21 days averagely 9 days after being infected. People with underlying conditions that impair their immune system – such as diabetes, chronic kidney or lung disease, and alcohol use disorder – are more likely to be dead from the infection.
Flooding brings with it long-lasting health effects through exposure to environmental bacterium in mud and polluted surface water, such as melioidosis and leptospirosis.
Medical workers saw a large volume of injuries from people wading in the flood waters and later clean up attempts; therefore, they advised people to avoid contact with flood waters where possible and cleaning and covering any wounds.
In case that people have to contact floodwaters, doctors advised people to you should don plastic or rubber gloves, boots, and other protective clothing to minimize the risk of infection through breaks in the skin while cleaning up after these floods.