Published Date: 2004-01-18 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza, human - Vietnam (06)
Archive Number: 20040118.0193
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN - VIETNAM (06)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Sat 17 Jan 2004
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: New York Times, Associated Press report, Sat 17 Jan 2004 [edited]
Vietnam: 5 more suspected human cases of avian influenza
Vietnam reported 5 more suspected human avian influenza virus cases on Sat
17 Jan 2004 -- including the first from the south -- as the World Health
Organization confirmed a fourth death was caused by the disease [see
ProMED-mail: Avian influenza, human - Vietnam (05) 20040117.0181].
The new fatality was a 5 year old boy from Nam Dinh province, 60 miles
south of Hanoi, who died on Thu 8 Jan 2004, WHO spokesman Bob Dietz said.
He said increased numbers of people are being admitted to hospital with
respiratory problems, although it was unclear whether they are linked to
[the avian influenza outbreak]. "We believe we are seeing more cases of
respiratory illness coming into 2 hospitals in Hanoi", Dietz said.
Millions of chickens throughout Vietnam, Japan, and South Korea are
infected with a deadly strain of avian influenza virus, although Vietnam is
the only country to have confirmed cases of human infection. Besides the 4
confirmed deaths, the WHO says it is monitoring 3 other suspected cases.
Vietnam has reported at least 18 suspected cases, with 13 deaths.
On Saturday, hospital officials in southern Kien Giang province said a 21
year old woman admitted on 11 Jan 2004 and a 25 year old man hospitalized 2
days later showed all the symptoms of influenza A [virus infection]. The 2
patients both had high fevers, coughs, low blood pressure, and low levels
of blood cells, symptoms of influenza A virus infection, a doctor said,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
It is the first time suspected human cases have been reported in the south,
where the bulk of the bird infections have been. On Sat 17 Jan 2004,
government officials confirmed that about 2 million chickens have died or
been slaughtered to stop the spread of the avian influenza outbreak.
Samples have been sent to the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City and
results are expected next week. The 2 people had not traveled recently
outside the province, where no poultry [affected by avian influenza] has
been reported, the doctor said.
Also, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported on Saturday that 3 babies 1
year old from Hanoi and 2 surrounding provinces, suspected to have
contracted the virus, had been admitted to a pediatric hospital in the last
2 days. 2 of them are in serious condition and were on respirators, it
said. Hospital officials declined to comment Saturday.
Over the weekend, the WHO began assembling a team of international experts,
which will grow to 14 people, whose main objective will be discovering how
to minimize the risk of human transmission, said Dr Hitoshi Oshitani. "The
more people (that are) exposed to the virus and the more people infected
with this virus, [the higher the] possibility this virus could acquire the
capability of human-to-human transmission. That's what we need to prevent,"
Health officials believe the infected patients contracted the disease
through contact with bird droppings. So far, there has been no evidence of
person-to-person transmission, which experts have said could make the
disease a deadlier epidemic than SARS.
[The number of human cases of confirmed or suspected avian influenza A
(H5N1) virus infection in Vietnam remains low in relation to the huge
number of birds affected over a wide area of east Asia. Although the
presumptive conditions for generation of a new pandemic strain of influenza
virus still exist, there is no evidence so far that of significant
person-to-person transmission of infection, which would precede the
evolution of a virus likely to initiate a pandemic in the human population.