Another Vietnamese falls victim to bird flu

Vietnamese authorities have confirmed that a man who has died in a Hanoi hospital was infected with the bird flu virus.

The 40-year-old man had been in hospital for four days and was being treated for lung and kidney failure; his death is the second in Vietnam from avian influenza this year and brings the country's death toll from bird flu to 49.

According to Vietnam's Health Ministry tests have confirmed the man from the northern province of Hai Duong, 50 km (31 miles) southeast of Hanoi, had the H5N1 virus.

It has been reported that chickens in the neighbourhood died from unknown causes and the man and his family ate two of them.

The man's relatives are being closely monitored by health officials since he became sick.

Another 32-year-old man from an ethnic minority group in the northern province of Tuyen Quang died from bird flu on January 18th and he too had slaughtered and ate dead chickens raised for food.

In December 2007 a four-year-old boy from northern Son La province died from bird flu and up to that point no human cases of bird flu infections had been reported for nearly four months.

Vietnam has now had a total of 103 human cases of bird flu infections, including 49 fatalities, since the disease first hit the country in December 2003.

In order to curb the spread of the virus millions of birds have been culled and according to the Department of Animal Health, the two main centres of infection appear to be northern Thai Nguyen and central Quang Binh province.

Although H5N1 remains mainly a virus of birds, experts worry that the virus will mutate into a form easily transmitted between humans and trigger a worldwide pandemic which could kill millions.

The H5N1 virus has now killed 227 people of the 360 known cases; most of those deaths have been in Indonesia, followed by Vietnam.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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