Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in Viet Nam

30 December 2004

WHO has received informal reports of a laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 infection in Viet Nam.

The patient, who has been hospitalized since 26 December, is a 16-year-old girl who fell ill in the southern province of Tay Ninh.

Vietnamese authorities are investigating the source of her infection, including the possibility of contact with infected poultry.

This is the first human case of H5N1 detected in Viet Nam since early September. It coincides with several fresh poultry outbreaks reported in southern provinces in December. Recent poultry outbreaks in Tay Ninh Province have not been reported.

As avian influenza viruses become more active at cooler temperatures, further poultry outbreaks, possibly accompanied by sporadic human cases, can be anticipated.

Poultry marketing, transportation, and consumption increase in Viet Nam with the approach of the Lunar New Year in early February. These activities create conditions favouring the spread of poultry outbreaks and call for heightened control measures.

Since January of this year, 28 human cases have been detected in Viet Nam. Of these, 20 were fatal. Thailand has also reported human cases, bringing the total in Asia since the beginning of this year to 45 cases, of which 32 have been fatal.

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