Bird Flu :: Vietnam confirms first bird flu death since 2005

A patient suffering from bird flu died in northern Vietnam, state television announced, the first death from avian influenza in the country since 2005, bringing the number of dead to 43 as the virus continues to spread through poultry stocks.

Hundreds of thousands of birds in Asia died due to a virus that has been dubbed the “bird flu.” The highly contagious illness is responsible for wiping out large numbers of poultry in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The particular strain of influenza which has been reported as causing the deaths is called H5N1.

Investigations confirmed a 20-year-old man from northern Ha Tay province died from the H5N1 bird flu virus a week ago, the Vietnam News Agency quoted Vice Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan as saying on Saturday at a bird flu meeting in Hanoi.

Since 2004, some 270 humans have been infected with bird flu in 10 countries, with about 167 fatalities, mostly in Asia, according to the World Health Organization. With the flu spreading around the world, the virus has turned up in birds in Asia, Europe and Africa. So far, bird flu has mostly been passed from birds either to other birds or, in isolated cases, to humans.

Vietnam had not reported a human bird flu death since November 2005, even though it has recently had four other human cases. Two of the patients have fully recovered, while the other two remain hospitalized.