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Troubling Details on Familial Cluster of Five in Haiphong Vietnam

Recombinomics Commentary
March 26, 2005

>>  On Saturday, health officials said a family of five from the northern port city of Haiphong was hospitalized under suspicion of contracting bird flu. The family was admitted March 22 with mild fever, coughing and minor lung infections, said Truong My Sang, director of the city's medical center.

Samples taken from the 35-year-old man, his 32-year-old wife and their three daughters, aged 10 years, 4 years, and 4 months, have been sent to the Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology for testing, hospital officials said.

The family kept about 30 chickens, some of which died on March 10, he said. The entire brood has been culled and the home disinfected, Sang said. <<

The additional detail on the Haiphong familial cluster sounds like a common exposure that led to efficient transmission of H5N1.  All five members were admitted on the same day.  There is no distinction made for onset date or symptoms among the family, which covers a wide age range from 35 years of age to 4 months.  This is the largest reported familial cluster.

Since the family was admitted March 22 and the doctor's comments were published March 25, there would have been enough time for a quick test for H5N1 avian influenza, further suggesting that the family will be confirmed to be H5N1 infected.

If confirmed, the efficient transmission of bird flu would be a very major cause for concern.

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