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Nine Bird Flu Cases in Northern Vietnam

Recombinomics Commentary
June 15, 2005

>> "Six people were admitted to our institute last week. They have been tested positive to H5N1. Now, we're treating eight bird flu patients in all," a nurse at the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi capital city said on condition of anonymity.

Among the eight patients, seven are showing good signs of recovery, and one is in critical health condition, the nurse said, adding that a doctor at the institute, who has taken specimens from bird flu patients for testing, has temperature, one of the disease's symptoms. <<

The above comments describe nine H5N1 bird flu patients at the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.  Two would appear to be patients admitted in May.  Three such patients were described in the latest WHO update.  Six more were admitted last week, and wire service reports indicate H5N1 has been confirmed in these six.  The physician would represent the 9th confirmed or suspect case.  Since detail is lacking, there may be additional patients admitted this week, who have not been confirmed

Since there is no detail on gender, age, or location on the new patients, it is unclear how clustered these cases are, other than the relationship of the physician to the patients.  However, if the physician is H5N1 positive, then the transmission from patient to physician would provide another data point indicating human-to-human transmission in northern Vietnam is getting more efficient.  The last reported physician with bird flu symptoms was the 34 year old physician at Vietnam Swedish hospital who developed Acute Respiratory Distress on April 1 and died two days later.

Although cluster data on the latest group of patients in Hanoi is not available, the large number of cases in northern Vietnam extends the observations on larger numbers of milder cases, and is cause for concern that H5N1 in northern Vietnam is more efficiently transmitting human-to-human.

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