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Two H5 Bird Flu Deaths in Southern Vietnam

Recombinomics Commentary

July 28, 2005

According tests by the Pasteur Institute in southern Ho Chi Minh City, the specimens from a 26-year-old patient from the city's Binh Tan district, who died on Wednesday, were positive to the virus strain H5, while those from a 24-year-old man from Cang Long district in southern Tra Vinh province, to the virus strain H5N1. The man named Le Hoang Anh died on Monday in a provincial hospital.

    Relatives of the two patients said they ate chicken before exhibiting bird flu symptoms. Anh and his relatives ate dead chickens. The 26-year-old patient bought half of a semi-processed chicken at a local market, and cooked it

The above two deaths in southern Vietnam extend the differences between H5N1 cases in northern and southern Vietnam.  Almost all confirmed H5N1 cases in southern Vietnam and Cambodia in 2005 died.  In contrast, the vast majority of H5N1 cases in northern Vietnam have recovered.  These differences may be due in part to sequences from mainland China, such as Yunnan province.  Many polymorphisms in Vietnam match China.  In northern Vietnam the mild cases have also been associated with H5N1 positive serum samples in contacts, based on western blot, indicating H5N1 is silently transmitting. Although a lab in Japan did not confirm the tests, reports suggest other labs did confirm the western blot data, showing many contacts were H5N1 positive.

The co-circulation of two distance H5n1 in northern and southern Vietnam, coupled with the upcomiing migration could generate new sequences via recombination, leading to new problems.

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