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More Confirmed H5N1 in Northern Vietnam
August 2, 2005
The woman named Nguyen Thi Them from the Quoc Oai district needs respiratory assistance at the Institute of Tropical Diseasesin Hanoi capital city, although she has no longer had a temperature. Earlier, she received treatment at a provincial hospital for 3 days starting on July 27.
The woman had bought a chicken at a local market and cooked it.
The newly confirmed H5N1 bird flu case in northern Vietnam extends the trend that began in 2005. The cases in the north are more widespread, but milder, with a case fatality rate near 10%. In contrast the case fatality rate for southern Vietnam is at or near 100%. This high rate has also been reported for cases in Cambodia and Indonessia.
The data suggest there are two H5N1's in Vietnam producing different diseases. Boxun reports have described 10 different H5N1 strains in China. The most virulent, RK-7, appears to be the same as the 16 isolates from Qinghai Lake. This version of H5N1 appears to be spreading along Russia's southern border. Similar outbreaks have been reported in Xinjiang. However, migration of birds from southern Russia and Qinghai Lake begins in the next few weeks and this migration will spread H5N1 to India, eastern China and southeast Asia.
Since Vietnam already has two distinct versions of H5N1, new sequences from Qinghai Lake could create new recombinant and new problems. H5N1 is marking a clear path of fatal infections along a 700 mile stretch of Russia's southern border.
A catastrophic spread of H5N1 appears certain.