Vietnam reports another H5N1 infection

Mar 2, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnam's health ministry yesterday announced that a 17-year-girl has been hospitalized with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, the country's third case so far this year, according to a media report.

The woman is from Tuyen Quang province in northern Vietnam, Saigon Giai Phong, a communist party newspaper based in Ho Chi Minh City, reported today. She got sick on Feb 19 and was hospitalized on Feb 24, where she began receiving oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

An investigation into the source of her infection revealed that chickens at the girl's home had died suddenly and that she had culled the whole flock.

If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the girl's infection, as well as the Feb 23 death of a 38-year-old woman and the recently reported infection of a 3-year-old girl, she will be listed Vietnam's 115th case, of which 58 have been fatal, including the recent death.

The recent steady rise in human cases follows increased reports of H5N1 outbreaks in Vietnamese poultry over the past few months. The most recent outbreak hit birds at two locations in Khanh Hoa province, Voice of Vietnam news reported today. The virus has also recently struck birds in Ca Mau, Dien Bien, Soc Trang, and Nam Dinh provinces.

Hoang Van Nam, the veterinary department's acting director, told Voice of Vietnam that other locations, especially the Mekong Delta, were at high risk of disease spread. Authorities have attributed the increase in outbreaks to inadequate cross-border control of bird transport and slaughter, especially in light of the Tet holiday, which increases the demand for poultry products.

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