Another avian flu death reported in Vietnam

Jul 14, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Another Vietnamese has died of avian influenza and three others have tested positive for the disease, according to reports from Vietnam today.

Reuters news service reported that an unidentified person infected with an H5 flu virus died in a Hanoi hospital last week. The report was based on a story in a Vietnamese newspaper called Tien Phong, or Vanguard, which attributed the information to the country's health ministry.

The report also said three people in an isolation ward at Hanoi's National Institute for Clinical Research of Tropical Medicine have avian flu, and another 13 patients in the ward have suspected cases.

The Chinese news service Xinhua published a similar story today. It said that one of two people who died in the Hanoi hospital last week had tested positive for an H5 virus, while results for the other person were inconclusive. The story also said 15 other people were being treated at the hospital for suspected avian flu.

The Xinhua story was based on a report in a Vietnamese newspaper called Pioneer, which attributed its information to Vietnam's Preventive Medicine Department.

Another Vietnamese newpaper, Than Nien News, also reported the latest death and the three other confirmed cases in its online edition today.

But the official Vietnam News Agency said in a story datelined today, "Since June 4, Vietnam has reported no new human cases of bird flu infections." The story made no mention of the newspaper reports.

The latest report, if accurate, brings Vietnam's unofficial avian flu death toll since late 2003 to 40, including 20 fatalities since December 2004. Another 12 people in Thailand and 4 Cambodians also have died of H5N1 avian flu in the past year and a half.

Today's reports did not make clear whether any of the cases mentioned have been reported previously. By the official World Health Organization count, Vietnam had had a total of 87 cases of avian flu as of Jun 28.

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