(excerpts):  Hanoi, Vietnam - Vietnam has asked international heath experts to help investigate a mystery illness that has killed 19 people and sickened 171 others in an impoverished district in central Vietnam, an official said Friday.  The infection has affected mostly children and young people.  It begins with a high fever, loss of appetite and a rash that covers the hands and feet.  Patients who are not treated early can develop liver problems and eventually face multiorgan failure, said Le Han Phong, Chairman of the People's Committee in Ba To district in Quang Ngai province.  Nearly 100 people remain hospitalized, including 10 in critical condition. 

The Ministry of Health sent a team of health officials to the area earlier this month, but they were unable to determine the cause of illness.  The ministry has since asked the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help investigate. 

Update 4/27/12:  The World Health Organization said Monday it was "concerned" about an outbreak of a mysterious skin disease in central Vietnam, which has killed 19 people, mostly children, and left 171 others ill, with 10 in critical condition. 

The unidentified illness causes stiffness in limbs and ulcers on victims' hands and feet that look like severe burns.  "We are very concerned about this.  WHO is very aware of this case," said Wu Guogao, the organization's chief officer in Hanoi.  The disease appears to have been concentrated mainly in Ba To district in central Quang Ngai province and the WHO said it had not heard of similar outbreaks elsewhere in the country. 

"The results of the investigation are not yet available; therefore, we don't know anything more concerning the disease," said Dr. Dang Thi Phuong, director of Ba To district healthcare center.  "As far as I know, the ministry intends to invite foreign experts to the area to help us know more," she told AFP, adding that many of the victims were under 10 years old. 

Commentary:  Concerning the last days, Jesus said, "Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places" Matthew 24:7.  We see all of this happening throughout the world today.  Jesus also said, "There will be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" Matthew 24:21.  That means what is soon coming upon all the earth will be worse than the Holocaust, or anything else we have ever known.  I have peace, because I know the Lord will return for His people before God's wrath is poured out on the wicked.  The Bible also says, "Wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come" 1 Thessalonians 1:10.  Are you saved?  Have you received Jesus as your Savior?  If not, there is no time to waste.  Please visit the How Can I Be Saved page of this website.  God bless you.