Girl contracts avian flu after ingesting sick poultry

By Le Nga   October 20, 2022 | 11:27 pm PT
Girl contracts avian flu after ingesting sick poultry
Chickens are raised in a shed. Illustration photo by Shutterstock/Sodel Vladyslav
Vietnam's first recorded human case of A/H5 avian flu in eight years had consumed sick poultry a week before her first symptoms appeared, the local CDC said Friday.

The patient, a 5-year-old girl in the northern Phu Tho Province, had consumed the meat of sick chickens and ducks beforehand. On Oct. 5, she began to cough and suffered a fever, with family medicines proving ineffective.

Two days later, her skin and eyes began to turn yellow and she began to vomit. She was taken to the Thanh Ba District medical center, where doctors diagnosed her with acute liver and kidney failure, the cause of which has yet to be confirmed.

She was then taken to the Phu Tho obstetrics and pediatric hospital, where doctors confirmed the previous diagnosis. On Oct. 8 she was transferred to the National Hospital of Pediatrics, where she tested positive for A/H5 avian flu two days after. A second test by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology on Oct. 17 confirmed the result.

The girl is now suffering from respiratory failure, as well as acute liver and kidney failure, septic shock and A/H5 avian flu. She is continuing treatment at the National Hospital of Pediatrics.

The Phu Tho Center for Disease Control (CDC) said it has not found sick poultry living near the area where the girl lives, and there was no one with avian flu. However back in March, the Phu Tho Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sub-department had recorded bird flu cases among the local poultry population. All poultry in communes with infected cases have been vaccinated.

The exact A/H5 strain that infected the girl has not been confirmed. The CDC has created a list of 65 people who made contact with her so that their samples could be taken and their health monitored. The homes and barns of five families have also been disinfected.

Since 2003, Vietnam has recorded 128 human cases of A/H5, all of them infected with the H5N1 virus. A total 64 people died, according to the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. In 2014, there were two cases of H5N1 in the southern provinces of Binh Phuoc and Dong Thap, and both of them died. They had contact with sick poultry beforehand.

Avian flu in humans could produce symptoms of respiratory infection, from mild fevers and coughing, to severe pneumonia or even death.

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