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6th Confirmed Bird Flu Fatality in Vietnam
January 20, 2005
>> An 18-year-old girl from Vietnam's southern Tien Giang province died of bird flu on Wednesday night, raising the number of fatal cases of bird flu infection in the country to six.
The girl from Cai Lay town died after 13 days of treatment at the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, local newspaper Youth reported Thursday.
Altogether, Vietnam detected a total of seven cases of bird flu infections between Dec. 28, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2005. Six patients, all of whom lived in the southern region, died.
The hospital, on Wednesday, received two suspected cases of bird flu infection: a 27-year-old person and a 35-year-old patient, both from southern Dong Nai province. On the same day, the National Hygiene and Epidemiology Institute announced that samples from a 42-year-old man from Hanoi, who is undergoing treatment at the Tropical Disease Institute in the capital city, were tested positive to bird flu virus H5N1. <<
The death of the 18 year old in the south raises the number of confirmed bird flu fatalities to 6, all in the south. In addition, there are 2 unconfirmed fatalities, one in the north, whose brother has tested positive for H5N1, and another in the south.
The latest fatality in the south was the sister of a 15 year old suspect case. However, recent media reports indicate that the sister was a suspect case because she slaughtered the chicken, believed to have been the source of the fatal avian influenza infection. However, since she does not have symptoms, the potential transmission via the dead chicken contamination such as surfaces or utensils used to prepare the bird for cooking remain a concern.
Similarly, the situation in the north is also unclear. The unconfirmed fatality in the north died of acute pneumonia, but has tested negative for H5N1. However, his brother, who took care of him and is recovering from acute pneumonia, has tested positive for H5N1. Since the brother had no known contact with birds, there is the possibility of human to human transmission.
Thus, the younger brother is the only confirmed case this season that has not died. Interestingly, the only recent confirmed case to have survived in Thailand was also a relative of a confirmed case. The timing of her infection suggested she was infected by her niece, who died as did her mother, who was H5N1 positive. These two clusters may provide further evidence that human to human transmission to caregivers is possible, but not efficient and not necessarily fatal.