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Quang Ninh Physician Death Raises H5N1 and SARS Concerns

Recombinomics Commentary

April 5, 2005

>>  The Tien Phong newspaper said researchers at the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology meanwhile were trying to find what had caused the acute pneumonia which killed a 34-year-old doctor in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

He fell sick on Friday, his breathing worsened quickly despite emergency treatment for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and he died on Sunday, the newspaper said.

Test results were expected by the end of this week.  <<

The death of a physician in Quang Ninh is significant cause for concern.   SARS, which has not been reported this season in Hong Kong or Guangdong, has not been reported in Hanoi since 2003.

In contrast, a confirmed case of H5N1 was hospitalized in Quang Ninh on March 17.

The age of the physician, coupled with his sudden death, make H5N1 a probable cause of death.  Exposure to multiple H5N1 infected patients could lead to recombinants causing bird flu disease with novel properties.  Large clusters of patients in Quang Binh, Haiphong, and Thai Binh could generate aggressive recombinants.

However, all possibilities, including SARS and H5N1 should be aggressively explored in Hanoi.

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