Vietnam Says Bird Flu Kills Boy
"We have found this is the type A H5 virus," Tran Duc Long, deputy director of the Health Ministry's legal department said yesterday. He said the boy, from the outskirts of the capital city Hanoi, died on Sunday from pneumonia.
The World Health Organization in Vietnam said it had not received any official report of the death. Eight people in Thailand also died of the H5N1 bird flu virus this year.
Long said while doctors had not determined if the virus was the lethal H5N1 type, authorities were disinfecting the area around the boy's family home in Thanh Tri district outside Hanoi. The child fell ill with high fever, coughing and seizures on Aug. 28, doctors said.
In early August Vietnam reported three human deaths from the H5 virus and was only able to confirm the N1 component two weeks later. There are 15 sub-types of influenza virus known to infect birds but the H5N1 strain is deadly to humans.
Vietnam has sought the help of the WHO to further identify previous samples from bird flu victims, using the U.N. health agency's network of advanced laboratories.
Long said the diagnosis of bird flu in humans was complicated by the fact that its symptoms resemble the more common type A infection. Victims are believed to have caught the bird flu through close contact with sick poultry or their droppings.
Last week Vietnamese officials said they expected the bird flu virus to linger for at least five more years. The country culled tens of millions of poultry to curb the spread. The first wave of the disease emerged at the beginning of the year.
On Monday Malaysia reported a second outbreak of bird flu which proved a setback in its efforts to eradicate the H5N1 virus.