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Vietnam pleads for help as mystery disease kills 19, sickens 171

HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnam has asked the World Health Organization to help investigate a mystery disease that has killed 19 people and sickened 171 others in central Vietnam. 

Le Han Phong, chairman of the People's Committee in Ba To district in Quang Ngai province, says patients first experience a rash on their hands and feet along with high fever, loss of appetite and eventually organ failure. 


He says nearly 100 people remain hospitalized, including 10 in critical condition. Patients with milder symptoms are being treated at home. 

Phong says the first case was detected last year and that the disease had died down until a spate of new infections were recently reported, mostly in one impoverished village. 

A Ministry of Health investigation was inconclusive.