A mysterious skin disease has hit a Vietnam province killing at least 19 and leaving officials to seek international assistance to deal with the issue.
The skin disease which was first reported between April and December last year subsided but has reemerged in the mountainous district of Quang Ngai province. Doctors are yet to identify the cause of the disease, according to Reuters.
More than 170 people have already reported symptoms of the disease in Quang Ngai province which includes rashes on the hands and feet, which may also lead to liver problems and multiple organ failure.
Although the Vietnam government conducted medical tests, doctors were unable to identify the cause of the disease.
A report in Digital Journal said that Vietnam health officials believe that the disease is caused by poisoning from chemical herbicides, which are pesticides that are used to kill plants. Officials said that the symptoms of the disease coincide with one of the herbicide brands used to spray cassava fields.
Health workers have also said that the disease if detected could be treated easily, but once established it is difficult to treat the infection. They are hoping to have preliminary results within 10 days.
The BBC reports that alarmed at the spread of the disease, local residents of Reu village have blocked access to the place by laying branches across the path of the infected people to prevent the spread of the disease.
"We have to block the entrances here to stop patients from getting out and spreading the disease," one resident, Pham Van Tray, told Vietnamese TV, according to BBC.
"Since we don't know what caused the disease, we will have to rely on our rituals and prayers," he added.
The Vietnam government is now seeking help from foreign nations to find out the causes of the skin infection.
According to Reuters, the Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long told the Thanh Nien newspaper that the ministry would seek help from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts to investigate the causes of the disease.