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Bird Flu Outbreaks Near the Haiphong Five in Vietnam

Recombinomics Commentary
March 26, 2005

>> Five people in a family from Vietnam's northern Hai Phong city have been hospitalized for being suspected to contract bird flu virus strain H5N1, a local doctor said on Saturday.
The five-person family headed by Vu Van Son from the rural district of Kien Thuy were admitted to the city-based Viet-Tiep Hospital on March 22 after they had breathing difficulty, an official of the city's Department of Health said on condition of anonymity.

Son's family had a flock of poultry culled during a recent outbreak of bird flu in Hai Phong, the official said, noting that the city has detected no new affected spots in its territory for 13 days.

Samples from the five patients are being tested for H5N1. The patients are in good health condition, the official said, refusing to give further details. <<

There are several earlier reports of H5N1 in Haiphong.  There was an outbreak on February 23. Infected birds were found in four households between March 10-14 in the Kien Thuy district. The dates match the March 10 death of some of the poultry owned by the Vu Van Son family.

In addition to breathing difficulties, the family had mild fevers when admitted. Doctors quoted on Friday and Saturday indicate hospitalization is because of suspected bird flu.  Earlier cases in adjacent Thai Binh  had been milder and several patients recovered, although the most recent case, in Nam Dinh, adjacent Thai Binh, died.

The larger cluster appeared to involve milder cases, and if confirmed this familial cluster will be the largest reported to date.  If all family members developed symptoms at the same time, it will also represent the most efficient transmission of H5N1 to humans, which is why this cluster has been a major cause for concern.

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