Vietnam records first human case of bird flu in 8 years

By Le Nga   October 20, 2022 | 03:25 pm PT
Vietnam records first human case of bird flu in 8 years
Chickens are seen at a farm in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 24, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham
A 5-year-old girl in the northern Phu Tho Province has become Vietnam's first human case of A/H5 avian flu since 2014, the health ministry said Thursday.

Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said a team has been sent to where the girl lives, and in cooperation with the Department of Animal Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local authorities, they have performed a medical investigation regarding the case.

65 samples of those who've had contact with the patient have all returned negative with the A/H5 virus, and their health is normal. It has not been confirmed how the girl got infected in the first place.

Deputy health minister Nguyen Thi Lien Huong has requested medical authorities to ramp up measures to monitor and detect avian flu cases early in order to extinguish hotspots. Avian flu prevention guidance also needs to be re-checked, while plans to prevent outbreaks need to be drafted.

"Medical authorities and veterinarian authorities need to closely monitor the avian flu situation so there could be measures to prevent human infections," she said.

Since 2003, Vietnam has recorded 128 human cases of A/H5, all of them infected with the H5N1 virus. 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've had contact with poultry beforehand.

Cases of avian flu among poultry are still circulating in multiple localities in Vietnam however.

Avian flu in humans could produce symptoms of respiratory infections, from mild ones like fever and coughing, to severe ones like pneumonia or even death.

People are recommended not to consume food made from sick and dead poultry, as well as poultry products of unknown origins.

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