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Vietnam says bird flu subsiding, no new human cases

by 5m Editor
15 February 2005, at 12:00am

VIETNAM - Vietnam's latest bird flu epidemic, which has killed 13 people in a little more than a month, is showing sign of subsiding and no humans have caught it in the past week, the government said on Tuesday.

Vietnam says bird flu subsiding, no new human cases - VIETNAM - Vietnam's latest bird flu epidemic, which has killed 13 people in a little more than a month, is showing sign of subsiding and no humans have caught it in the past week, the government said on Tuesday.

The animal health department said in a report the outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus, which has killed 45 people since it arrived in Asia in late 2003, had caused new infections in six provinces last week.

But the virus, which has spread to more than half Vietnam's 64 provinces and cities since it re-emerged in December, had caused no new infections in poultry in seven of them over the last three weeks, it said.

The government has taken drastic measures in its war on the virus, which experts fear could mutate into a form that could pass between humans and cause a pandemic that might kill millions in a world population without immunity.

It curbed the movement of poultry in the run up to last week's Tet, the Lunar New Year festival, banned the raising of all waterfowl until June 30 and called for international expertise to help roll the virus back.

Even so, the virus, which seems to thrive best in cooler weather and can be carried by waterfowl without showing symptoms, has now killed 32 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and one Cambodian.

Most bird flu victims have caught the virus directly from infected poultry and it kills 80 percent of them.

Next week, the U.N. food agency and the World Organization for Animal Health will hold a regional meeting in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss the emergency.

Source: Reuters - 15th February 2005

5m Editor