Dak Nong woman fined for spreading fake swine fever news
Facebook user detained for fake news on tapeworm infections

Hoang Thanh Huyen at the local police station. — Photo kenh14.vn


Hoang Thanh Huyen, 23, from Dong Hoi City’s Bac Nghia Ward, has posted a status on his facebook page on September 16 reporting that three Whitmore cases have been recorded at Vietnam-Cuba Hospital.

“People should be aware,” she wrote.

Hundreds of people have shared the post, causing anxiety among the public.

Quang Binh Province’s Department of Health has issued a letter confirming the information was false and no cases had been reported in this locality.

After an investigation, police officers summoned Huyền for interrogation.

At the local police office, she admitted that the news posted by her was false.

She had heard some people talking about it and posted them on her Facebook page, with the aim of warning others of the situation.

Huyen was ordered to pay VND12.5 million (US$540).

Whitmore’s disease is caused by a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei which exists in contaminated water and soil.

The most common transmission to humans and animals is via direct contact with the infection, especially through skin abrasions or inhalations of dust particles containing bacteria.

According to Nguyen Van Kinh, director of the Central Hospital of Tropical Diseases, Whitmore’s disease was first reported in Vietnam in the 1950s and only appeared in some provinces.

The incubation period from the exposure to the bacteria to the appearance of first symptoms takes two to 21 days. However, once the disease activates, it progresses rapidly; an infected patient might be killed in only 48 hours after being hospitalised.

In late September, a man in Central Highlands province of Lam Dong was fined VND10 million ($430) for publishing fabricated news about a murder on his Facebook page.

Earlier in March, an owner of Facebook account “Đầm Bầu Thời Trang Mami” was levied VND20 million ($861) fine for posting fake news and photos relating to African swine fever in Hanoi. VNS