July 13, 2005

Vietnam bird flu toll hits 40, more infected

HANOI (Reuters) - Bird flu has killed another Vietnamese
and infected three more, taking the country's toll to 40 --
half of them killed since the H5N1 virus returned in December,
state-run media said on Thursday.

The victim, who was not identified, had the H5 component of
the virus and died in a Hanoi hospital last week, the Tien
Phong (Vanguard) newspaper quoted a Health Ministry report as

It said the report, delivered to a government meeting on
Wednesday, said three of 18 patients in the isolation ward of
Hanoi's National Institute for Clinical Research of Tropical
Medicine were confirmed bird flu cases.

Thirteen others were suspected of being infected with the
virus, while two had the human influenza.

Health Ministry officials said they could not immediately
provide details of the latest victim nor the new infection

Tien Phong quoted Trinh Quan Huan, director of the
Preventive Medicine and HIV/AIDS Control Department, as saying
there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the
virus which has infected more than 60 people since it returned
to Vietnam in December.

The virus, which arrived in Asia in late 2003, has also
killed 12 Thais and four Cambodians.

While there has been no new outbreaks in poultry in recent
weeks, the Vietnamese Health Ministry fears outbreaks could
turn into an epidemic in the winter, when the virus seems to
thrive best.