One more avian flu fatality in Vietnam, Mongolia reports bird deaths

Aug 9, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Reports from Vietnam say a 35-year-old man who died Jul 31 had H5N1 avian influenza, although official confirmation from the Ministry of Health is still to come.

Pham Van Lu, of the Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta, is reported to have slaughtered and eaten two chickens with H5N1 and to have fallen ill with a high fever thereafter, according to a story in Thanh Nien News. Verification of his case as H5N1 came from the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Ming City, the story says. This represents the first human case in Ben Tre.

In other developments, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) received a report yesterday from Mongolia of dead migratory birds. The report came from Dr. Ravdan Sanjaatogtokh, Director of the State Veterinary Services. The birds affected were migratory ducks, geese, and swans in the Erhel Lake area in the Kovsgol province near the Russian border.

The OIE report puts the number of dead birds at 80 and says they died of an A-type influenza, with subtyping in progress. An Agence France-Presse (AFP) today says 86 birds are dead at Erhel Lake and more wild birds have died at Khunt Lake in central Mongolia and in the south Gobi Desert. More than 100 people living near Erhel Lake have been quarantined, and tourists have been asked to stay away.

Meanwhile, the European Union has banned imports of live birds and feathers from Russia and Kazakhstan, both of which have had avian flu outbreaks in domestic poultry recently. Eggs and poultry meat have also been banned, although the two affected countries do not export these to the EU, Reuters reported.

The avian flu circulating in Khasakhstan has been confirmed as H5N1, but whether the infection in the Novosibirsk, Altai, and Omsk regions of Siberia has been confirmed as H5N1 remains unclear from reports.

Russia's chief epidemiologist, Gennady Onishchenko, seems convinced it is. He is quoted in a second AFP story today as saying, "There is every reason to believe that . . . the H5N1 strain of bird flu has been transferred by wild birds from Southeast Asia. . . . The sub-type circulating among animals can reasonably be expected to cause sickness among humans." He also said avian flu was carried by wild fowl in the previously unreported regions of Tyumen and Kurgan, although he did not specify the viral subtype there.

See also:

CIDRAP case count table for human cases of H5N1

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