Vietnamese teenager dies of avian flu

Aug 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnamese officials said yesterday that the death of a 15-year-old boy last week was caused by H5N1 avian influenza, according to news services.

The teenager died Aug 3 while being transferred from a hospital in his home province of Thanh Hoa to Hanoi, 95 miles to the north, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

Test results the next day showed the boy had avian flu, said Nguyen Huy Nga, director of Vietnam's Preventive Medicine Department, the AP reported. Nga said the boy had had contact with ducklings bought from a local market.

The boy's illness marked Vietnam's seventh human H5N1 case and fourth death from the disease this year, according to the AP and other news services. The country has had a total of 100 cases with 46 deaths since 2003.

Five cases reported by Vietnamese officials have not yet been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), whose current avian flu tally for Vietnam is 95 cases with 42 deaths. Overall, the WHO has logged 319 cases and 192 deaths.

In an Aug 6 news briefing, a WHO official said Vietnam has been trying to ship samples from avian flu patients to the WHO but has run into delays because of its own and other countries' rules governing shipment of biological materials.

Vietnam was hit hard by human H5N1 cases in 2004 and 2005, but after November 2005 the country had no more cases until late May of this year, when a 30-year-old man from Vinh Phuc province tested positive for the virus.

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