Jun 18, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A Vietnamese health ministry official announced 2 days ago that a 20-year-old man had died of H5N1 avian influenza, marking the country's first death from the disease in about 18 months.
Trinh Quan Huan, Vietnam's vice health minister, told Vietnam News Agency (VNA) that the man fell ill on Jun 2 and died on Jun 10, two days after he was hospitalized, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today.
VNA reported that the man's family raised about two dozen fighting cocks and some ducks, the AP story said.
If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the man's case, as well as four other cases reported by Vietnam over the past few weeks, the country's H5N1 case count will rise to 98, with 43 deaths. For now, the WHO count for Vietnam stands at 93 cases and 42 deaths.
Two Vietnamese patients who were recently diagnosed with H5N1 infections have been released from hospitals, while two others remain under care, according to the AP report. All are from northern provinces, and all were reported to have had contact with sick or dead birds.
Vietnam has been battling several poultry H5N1 outbreaks since early May. Animal-health officials today announced that almost 700 ducks and chickens died at eight farms in Bac Giang province in northern Vietnam, bringing the number of affected provinces to 16, Reuters reported.
"Bird flu virus is widely present in the environment and has infected many poultry flocks. Therefore, it can happen anywhere now," said a government statement quoting Deputy Agriculture Minister Bui Ba Bong, according to the Reuters report.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently published a report on its investigation of Vietnam's recent bird outbreaks. It attributed the unseasonable outbreaks to an increase in the numbers of ducks, many unvaccinated, that were released to graze on newly harvested rice paddies.
Meanwhile, agriculture officials in Bangladesh said today that H5N1 avian flu has spread to two farms in Jaipurhat district, prompting the culling of 7,000 chickens, according to a Reuters story.
The outbreaks, which began in March, have now affected 14 of the country's 64 districts, the Reuters report said. Bangladesh has had no confirmed human H5N1 cases.
Jun 7 FAO report