Six people from Vietnam's northern region have just been found to have contracted bird flu virus strain H5N1, raising the total number of infections in the country since late 2004 to 61, a local healthcare worker told Xinhua Wednesday.
"Six people were admitted to our institute last week. They have been tested positive to H5N1. Now, we're treating eight bird flu patients in all," a nurse at the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi capital city said on condition of anonymity.
Among the eight patients, seven are showing good signs of recovery, and one is in critical health condition, the nurse said, adding that a doctor at the institute, who has taken specimens from bird flu patients for testing, has temperature, one of the disease's symptoms.
Since mid-December 2004, a total of 61 local people from 21 cities and provinces have been reported to have been infected with H5N1, of whom 18 died. Last week, Vietnam's Preventive Medicine Department confirmed 55 infection cases, including 18 fatality ones, between mid-December 2004 and early June 2005.
Since bird flu started to hit Vietnam in December 2003, the country had detected a total of 82 human cases of infections in 28 cities and provinces, including 38 fatalities, the department said last week. The confirmed cases do not include the six new cases.
To prevent potential new outbreaks, Vietnam will start vaccinating poultry, especially waterfowls in high-risk areas, against bird flu viruses including the H5N1 strain, in the next few months. The country will offer raisers financial assistance of some 600 Vietnamese dong (nearly 4 US cents) for each fowl vaccinated.