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Bird Flu Kills Vietnam Girl, Possible Cambodia Case

by 5m Editor
31 January 2005, at 12:00am

VIETNAM - Bird flu has killed a 10-year-old girl in southern Vietnam, doctors said Monday, and they hoped the death of a Cambodian women suspected of having the virus would force Phnom Penh to take preventative measures.

Bird Flu Kills Vietnam Girl, Possible Cambodia Case - VIETNAM - Bird flu has killed a 10-year-old girl in southern Vietnam, doctors said Monday, and they hoped the death of a Cambodian women suspected of having the virus would force Phnom Penh to take preventative measures.

The girl from the southern Vietnamese province of Long An died Sunday, a doctor at Ho Chi Minh City's Pediatric Hospital No.1 said, raising the toll in Vietnam from H5N1 virus to 12 since the disease erupted again in December.

The death toll from the Asian bird flu since the end of 2003 now stands at 44 -- 32 in Vietnam and 12 in Thailand.

Vietnamese authorities are waiting for test results on a 25-year-old Cambodian woman who was hospitalized on Jan. 28 with a high fever and died Sunday. Her lungs had been badly damaged.

"This case is a worry as her brother had died from respiratory failure before he could be rushed to a hospital," said doctor Nguyen Van Hung, who supervised the Cambodian patient, quoting details given by relatives of the woman.

Most bird flu victims are believed to have caught the virus from infected poultry but doctors fear it could mutate into a form that is easily passed between people, unleashing a global human flu pandemic that could kill millions.

If the case is confirmed, the woman would be the first person from Cambodia found to be infected and killed by the H5N1 poultry virus. Poultry outbreaks were last detected in Cambodia in September 2004 but no human casualty has been reported there.

"We hope the test results will soon be in place so as to caution the health authorities in Cambodia as people there have been coming over to Ha Tien town very often," Hung said.

The Vietnamese town of Ha Tien borders Cambodia in the southern province of Kien Giang. The town is 340 km (210 miles) southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

A lab researcher at Ho Chi Minh City's Pasteur Institute said the woman's test results would be known by Tuesday afternoon at the earliest.

High fever, coughing and acute pneumonia are symptoms of bird flu, which kills about 80 percent of people it infects. Most of the dead, 32, have been in Vietnam but bird flu has also killed 12 people in Thailand.

The World Health Organization has said the bird flu virus might already have infected people in countries neighboring Vietnam such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar that lack the infrastructure or capacity to conduct necessary surveillance.

Vietnamese state media said Monday seven Vietnamese were taken to a Hanoi hospital at the weekend on suspicion of having bird flu. Tests were being done, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.

Researchers in Ho Chi Minh City were also testing for bird flu samples from a 39-year-old man who died Sunday in the central city of Danang, said the Saigon Giai Phong daily. If confirmed, he would the first casualty of the virus in central Vietnam.

Source: Reuters - 31st January 2005

5m Editor