China, Vietnam report more cases of avian flu

Nov 23, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A 35-year-old woman who died Tuesday in China's Anhui province had the third confirmed human case of H5N1 avian influenza in China, according to Xinhua, the country's government news service.

The woman, a farmer surnamed Xu who lived in Xiuning County, developed fever and pneumonia symptoms on Nov 11 and died Nov 22, Xinhua reported. Anhui has had recent H5N1 outbreaks in poultry, and the woman had been in contact with sick and dead poultry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet confirmed the case, but China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that samples from the woman tested positive for H5N1. This case marks the nation's second known fatality; another poultry worker, a 24-year-old woman also from Anhui, died Nov 10. The other confirmed case was in a 9-year-old boy who was hospitalized Oct 17 and has recovered.

In addition, China has reported four new outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry in the western provinces of Xinjiang, Yunnan, and Ningxia, Bloomberg News reported today.

Vietnam has announced that a 15-year-old boy, Vu Van Hoa, tested positive for an H5 virus, although reports conflict as to whether his illness was confirmed as H5N1. The boy is from the northern port city of Haiphong, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). He is hospitalized in stable condition.

"We have identified the type A flu virus H5," said Tran Duc Long, a health ministry spokesman. "We are waiting for results of the tests in order to determine the precise strain of the virus."

Travelers to Vietnam who are eager to sample its famous soup, pho, won't be able to order it with chicken any longer. The Vietnamese government has announced that chicken will be removed from the menu for tourists in Vietnam, according to a Reuters story today. In addition, tour operators have been ordered to avoid spots where avian flu outbreaks have occurred in poultry.

The National Tourism Administration announced the rules, which took effect immediately, Reuters said. Vietnam has been a popular tourist destination for Americans and Europeans, and tour operators said today that avian flu has not diminished their numbers.

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