A total of 60 local people in Vietnam have been confirmed to be infected with bird flu virus strain H5N1 since late December 2004, of whom 18 died, local newspaper Youth Tuesday quoted the country's Health Ministry as saying.
The patients are from 23 cities and provinces. Ten people have remained hospitalized in the Institute of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi capital city. While the ministry confirmed 60 bird flu patients since late December 2004, local media, earlier, reported a total of 61 infection cases.
Seeing a greater number of human infections in recent months when no major outbreaks among poultry have been detected, the ministry has urged relevant ministries, sectors and localities to strengthen disease prevention. Localities are asked to reduce the number of poultry flocks, raise and slaughter them on large scale in concentrated areas, and cull infected poultry as well as flocks of less than 30 fowls which are raised freely in gardens or fields, regardless they contract H5N1 or not.
Vietnam will start vaccinating fowls against bird flu viruses in northern Nam Dinh province and southern Tien Giang province on a trial basis in early August, and then do the same in other localities with high risks of outbreaks in October if the vaccination proves effective.