International Notes - Avian influenza, Viet Nam

Volume 31-05  1 March 2005

On 30 December 2004, the World Health Organization received informal reports of a laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 infection in Viet Nam.

The patient, who has been hospitalized since 26 December 2004, is a 16-year-old girl who fell ill in the southern province of Tay Ninh.

Vietnamese authorities are investigating the source of her infection, including the possibility of contact with infected poultry.

This is the first human case of H5N1 detected in Viet Nam since early September 2004. It coincides with several fresh poultry outbreaks reported in southern provinces in December 2004. Recent poultry outbreaks in Tay Ninh Province have not been reported.

As avian influenza viruses become more active at cooler temperatures, further poultry outbreaks, possibly accompanied by sporatic human cases, can be anticipated.

Poultry marketing, transportation, and consumption increase in Viet Nam with the approach of the lunar New Year in early February. These activities create conditions favourable to the spread of poultry outbreaks and call for heightened control measures.

Since January 2004, 28 human cases have been detected in Viet Nam, of which 20 were fatal. Thailand has also reported human cases, bringing the total number of cases in Asia since the beginning of 2004 to 45, of which 32 have been fatal.

Source: WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record, Vol 80, No 1, 2005.


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