Vietnam Says 2 More Dead from H5N1 Bird Flu
Vietnam said two children who died of bird flu this month had tested positive for the H5N1 strain, bringing to three the number of fatalities from the latest outbreak of a virus that killed 24 people across Asia earlier this year.
Vietnam said two children who died of bird flu this month had tested positive for the H5N1 strain, bringing to three the number of fatalities from the latest outbreak of a virus that killed 24 people across Asia earlier this year.”It is the H5N1 virus,” said a doctor at the Hanoi Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on Tuesday.The institute’s initial finding had only discovered the presence of the H5 component in the children from northern Ha Tay province. The N1 part was confirmed from more tests.The two were a 4-year-old boy who died on Aug. 2 and an 11-month-old girl who died on Aug. 4. Vietnam’s first confirmed fatality this month was of a 25-year-old woman from the southern province of Hau Giang.”It’s not a surprise,” said Hans Troedsson, Vietnam representative for the World Health Organization, when told about the test result.He added that Vietnam has in principle agreed to let the U.N. health agency to do further tests on the samples of all three victims believed to have been killed by the H5N1 strain.Asked if the confirmation heightened the sense of alarm about the virus, Troedsson said:”Overall it seems to be under control, you have to remember that these cases are one to two weeks old. Surveillance efforts have been stepped up in the last week.”The H5N1 strain killed 16 people in Vietnam and eight in Thailand earlier this year and outbreaks of bird flu have hit poultry farms in several countries in Asia in recent weeks.The Health Ministry has said the boy’s family in Ha Tay province had eaten poultry that was sick while another possible source of infection might have come from the excrement of sick chickens which local people use as fertilizer for their crops.Taking into account the three H5N1 confirmed cases, Vietnam has reported at least four more suspected bird flu infections in humans.Officials said they were concerned about more cases cropping up among the country’s scattered small farms.Typical symptoms are coughing, high fever and a sore throat. Death usually occurs within days.In the previous 24 deaths, the victims were believed to have caught the virus from contact with sick chickens. No human-to-human transmission was proved. (Additional reporting by Christina Pantin in HANOI) (Source: Reuters, August 2004)