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HIV Patient Raises Quang Ninh Bird Flu Cluster to Six

Recombinomics Commentary

April 14, 2005

>>A 21-year-old woman has been infected by both the deadly HIV/AIDS virus and bird flu, the first such case in Vietnam, health officials said on Thursday.

Nguyen Van Thich, head of the Centre for Preventive Medicine in the northern province of Quang Ninh, said the woman, the first to be diagnosed with both bird flu and HIV in Vietnam, used to work at a hairdressor's shop. She was hospitalized in late March with fever and coughing.

"She is still very weak," he told Reuters, adding that the woman has been treated at a provincial hospital.

Quang Ninh province bordering China has one of the highest number of HIV carriers in Vietnam, most of them drug addicts and prostitutes.<<

The HIV infected patient increases the Quang Ninh cluster to six.  These six were all admitted over a 2 week period between March 17 and April 1.  The index case, Nguyen Thi Lin, a 40 year old female was admitted March 17.  On March 21 the HIV positive patient was admitted to Bai Chay hospital.  These admissions were followed by the 34 year-old male physician who worked at Vietnam Sweden hospital.  He was admitted April 1 and died April 3.  Results were slated to be released April 7, but were not released unless he was the unidentified H5N1 positive patient announced later that week.  In addition, there were two confirmed and one suspect H5N1 patients at Vietnam Sweden.

This cluster of six raises additional concerns about human-to-human transmission.  There was no mention of exposure to poultry for the HIV patient or the physician, yet the cluster of 6 confirmed or suspect H5N1 patients in one cluster points to more efficient transmission in the province. 

Efficient transmission has also been seen in the adjacent provinces of Haiphong and Thai Binh.

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