Another Bird Pushes
Toll To 61
HANOI, Vietnam - Bird flu has killed one more person in Vietnam as the country began a mass vaccination of poultry to try to slow the spread of the virus, health officials said on Tuesday.
A 35-year-old man from the southern Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, who died on July 31, tested positive for the H5N1 flu virus on Saturday, said Phan Van Tu, chief virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City.
The death brings the regional human toll to 61.
Nguyen Huu Sinh, director of Ben Tre provincial Preventive Medicine Centre said the man fell ill July 25, a week after he butchered and ate two dead chickens given to him by his mother and a neighbour.
The man was admitted to a provincial hospital a day before he died, he added.
Sinh said local health officials have disinfected the man's house and surrounding areas and conducted surveillance of the people who were in contact with him.
Mass vaccination
Last week, Vietnam began a mass vaccination of millions of chickens and ducks in two provinces to try to slow the spread of the virus, which has killed 42 people in the communist country since late 2003.
If the vaccination produces positive results, Vietnam plans to extend the programme to most other provinces by the end of the year.
The World Health Organisation has repeatedly warned that avian influenza could mutate and become easily spread from person to person, sparking a global pandemic that could kill millions. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with sick birds.
The death comes days after a researcher in the United States announced that a bird flu vaccine had shown positive results in humans. The vaccine is difficult to produce and is only effective if given in large doses, but the WHO praised it as a good first step.




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