Vietnam has new bird flu patient - paper

Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:14pm EST

HANOI Feb 17 (Reuters) - A Vietnamese man has been tested positive for the deadly H5N1 flu virus, a state-run online newspaper quoted the Health Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old man from Kim Son district in the northern province of Ninh Binh, about 100 km (62 miles) south of Hanoi, had slaughtered and eaten poultry about two weeks before developing flu infection, the Dan Tri (www.dantri.com.vn) quoted health officials as saying.

They also said his family's poultry also died from unknown reasons.

On Tuesday Vietnam's Animal Health Department said there were still seven provinces including Bac Ninh and Quang Ninh in the north and several Mekong Delta provinces affected by the latest recurrence of the bird flu outbreak in poultry.

Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed a 23-year-old Vietnamese woman from the northern province of Quang Ninh also had bird flu. She is known to have had contact with sick and dead poultry before falling ill, the WHO said.

Avian influenza has affected millions of birds around the world, particularly in East Asia, and can be caught by humans who come into contact with infected birds -- an ever-present danger in some societies where people keep poultry in the yards of their homes or live close to food markets.

Scientists fear the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus could mutate into a form that would spread easily between people, leading to a pandemic that could infect millions. (Reporting by Nguyen Nhat Lam; Editing by Jerry Norton)