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Bird Flu Haiphong Five Grows to Six in Vietnam

Recombinomics Commentary
March 28, 2005

>> A 41-year-old woman from Vietnam's northern Hai Phong city has been hospitalized for being suspected to contract bird flu virus strain H5N1.

    The woman, named Vu Thi Hoan from Kien Thuy district, was admitted to a hospital in the city on March 25 after suffering cough and breathing difficulty, according to the newspaper Youth on Monday.

    She lives in a bird flu-affected area near a five-person family who were admitted to the city-based Viet-Tiep Hospital on March 22with bird flu symptoms. Specimens from the family members are being tested for H5N1. <<

The new case expands the bird flu Haiphong five to six. The symptoms are similar to those of the five member family, although they had fevers at the time of admission.  Although doctors had indicated on Friday and Saturday that the family were admitted last Tuesday because they were bird flu cases, the H5N1 test results have not yet been reported.

The family was unique in that all five were admitted to the hospital.  If confirmed to be H5N1 positive, they would be the largest familial cluster reported to date.  A confirmation would also signal efficient transmission.  Efficient transmission, even if directly from birds to human, would be cause for concern because H5N1 is endemic to the area. Transmission from bird to human with associated bird flu symptoms has been extremely inefficient.  Recent clusters in adjacent Thai Binh province have been more frequent and the cases have been milder.

The new patient described above increases the number of suspect bird flu cases in the geographical cluster to six, all of whom are in the Kien Thuy district and have the family name Vu.  Reports do not indicate a familial relationship or potential transmission between Vu Thi Hoan and Vu Van Son's family.

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