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Bird Flu Returns To Vietnam

December 29, 2008

A state-run newspaper reported on Sunday that bird flu has resurfaced in poultry in northern Vietnam after many months without any cases, killing ducks and chickens at two farms.

On Saturday, Animal health officials confirmed the H5N1 virus had killed several birds among a flock of more than 100 ducks in Thai Nguyen City, 50 miles north of Hanoi, the Ho Chi Minh City Communist Youth league-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

The report said that officials had also detected the virus in dead chickens at a farm in the same city and nearly 4,200 chickens had been slaughtered to prevent the virus from spreading.

Trinh Quan Huan, deputy Health Minister, said this week that there was a very high risk of bird flu returning during the winter and spring in northern Vietnam.  The H5N1 strain seems to thrive best in low temperature.

There have been five deaths in Vietnam from bird flu so far this year, out of the six reported H5N1 infections.  All were found in northern Vietnam during the first quarter of the year.

According to the World Health Organization, the strain has killed 247 people globally among the 391 confirmed cases of infection since 2003.

Vietnam has 106 infections, the second highest number of cases among 15 countries with known human cases after Indonesia.

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