Feb 15, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – An official from Vietnam's health ministry said today that a 27-year-old man whose samples recently tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza died of the disease last night, the country's second fatality in as many days.
Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the health ministry's preventive medicine department, said the man died in a Hanoi hospital, according to an Associated Press (AP) report. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the man's illness and death, he will be listed as Vietnam's 104th case-patient and its 50th fatality from the H5N1 virus.
The man was from Ninh Binh province in northern Vietnam, about 62 miles south of Hanoi, Nga told the AP. He got sick earlier this week after eating infected chicken at his home, the report said.
Activities surrounding the Lunar New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam, earlier this month could have spread the H5N1 virus, Nga told the AP. As the demand for chicken—used for meals and sacrifices—during the holiday increases, more birds are transported around the country, he said.
Meanwhile, the WHO today confirmed an H5N1 infection and death in another man from northern Vietnam, a 40-year-old who died 2 days ago, according to a statement from the WHO. He is now listed as Vietnam's 103rd case-patient and its 49th death.
The WHO statement said the man, whose case was confirmed by Vietnam's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, was from Hai Duong province. He got sick on Feb 2 and was hospitalized 6 days later.
An investigation into the source of the man's illness indicates that he had contact with dead poultry before he became ill, the WHO report said. National and local health offices have instituted disease control measures, and authorities are monitoring the man's close contacts, all of which remain healthy, the WHO stated.
Feb 15 WHO statement