Vietnamese Officials Seek Help with Mystery Illness

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Health officials in Vietnam have asked international experts for help in identifying a strange illness that has killed 19 people, but so far defies explanation. The mysterious skin condition first appeared last April, but had seemed to die out as the year progressed. However, there have been 68 new infections and eight deaths within the last month. Officials also determined that 11 other previously unexplained deaths were a result of the same disease. The Ministry of Health has asked the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the cause. Most of the cases have been concentrated in the Ba To District, which is one of the poorest in the country. The symptoms include a severe rash and ulcers on the skin, as well as high fever that eventually leads to liver problems and organ failure. More than 170 people have been known to contract the disease within the last year, with many suffering severe complications.

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