The death of a 20-year-old man from Vietnam's northern Ha Tay province was the first fatal case of bird flu infections in the country since mid-November 2005, Vietnam News Agency reported Saturday.
The man from Ba Vi district who exhibited bird flu symptoms on June 2 was admitted to the Tropical Disease Hospital in Hanoi capital on June 8, and died on June 10, said Vietnamese Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan. Recent tests show that he was infected with bird flu virus strain H5N1.
Before developing the symptoms, he and his family members frequently took care of 20 fighting cocks and some ducks at their house.
Since late 2005, Vietnam has reported five human cases of bird flu infections, of whom one has died, two from the northern provinces of Vinh Phuc and Thanh Hoa have been discharged from hospital, and two from the northern provinces of Ha Nam and Thai Nguyen have still been under treatment at the city-based hospital, said the report.
All of the bird flu patient have either had direct contact with or eaten dead fowls. Huan said H5N1 has yet to mutate, and medicine Tamiflu is still effective in treating bird flu patients.
Vietnam is strengthening surveillance systems at bird flu hot- spots, equipping hospitals nationwide with more respirators, and stockpiling over 20 million tablets of Tamiflu.
The Health Ministry said the World Health Organization has agreed in principle to grant 2.5 million U.S. dollars to Vietnam in order to aid the country in producing human vaccines for the disease.
In their recent joint research, the city-based hospital and Oxford University have been able to isolate and recreate single cells from the blood of bird flu survivors that may lead to a viable commercial human vaccine, said the report.