Man dies of bird flu in Vietnam19th June 2007
A 20-year-old Vietnamese man has died of bird flu, the first human death to occur in the country from the virus since 2005, officials said.
The death, in the northern province of Ha Tay, was announced by official media, but none of the recent five cases of H5N1 infections have yet been confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The disease, which has ripped through poultry flocks in Asia and spread to Europe and Africa, has killed 191 people out of 313 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in 2003.
Two other people have recovered, and two are still being treated for the virus, which recently resurfaced on poultry farms in the region..
Officials culled ducks and chickens at eight farms in Bac Giang province after it was found that 690 birds died of avian influenza there.
"Bird flu virus is widely present in the environment and has infected many poultry flocks. Therefore, it can happen anywhere now," a government statement quoted Deputy Agriculture Minister Bui Ba Bong as telling a meeting on Saturday.
At the same meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved an order to import another batch of 200 million doses of bird flu vaccine to battle the outbreaks that have struck 16 provinces, including Bac Giang, and two cities.
He told a meeting that tight controls must be imposed on Vietnam's 70 million ducks, who should not be allowed to roam free unvaccinated.
WHO said carrying out all effective measures in the provinces was challenging, but that Hanoi was aware and alert where bird flu was concerned.
Vietnam's programme of poultry vaccination and other measures has been described by international health experts as a model for keeping the H5N1 virus at bay, but this year it has spread nationwide in ducks and chickens.
The latest death raised Vietnam's toll since late 2003 to 43 people.
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