HANOI, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Bird flu may have killed a 32-year-old Vietnamese man in a northern province where the virus has been found in poultry, state-run media and a government report said on Tuesday.
The man died at a Hanoi hospital of pneumonia earlier this month, two days after he had been taken in from Tuyen Quang province, the hospital’s deputy director Nguyen Hong Ha was quoted by the online VTC News newspaper (www.vtc.vn) as saying.
The man fell ill on Jan. 16 after eating chicken which had died of unknown cause. Dead chicken and white-winged ducks were also found near his house, the newspaper quoted a relative as saying.
Vietnamese doctors were testing to see if the man had been infected by the H5N1 virus.
The H5N1 virus remains mainly a virus of birds, but experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmitted from person to person and sweep the world, killing millions.
In a separate report, the Animal Health Department said tests have confirmed that bird flu has infected poultry in Tuyen Quang province.
It said chickens and white-winged ducks died at a farm in the province early this month and health officials took samples from 11 birds on Jan 17. for bird flu tests. They found three of the 11 samples carried the H5N1 virus, the department said.
The finding meant Tuyen Quang joined the northern province of Thai Nguyen and the southern province of Tra Vinh in the government’s bird flu watchlist which reported the last outbreak among poultry less than 21 days ago.
Vietnam reported its latest human death from bird flu last month when the virus killed a four-year-old boy.
The H5N1 virus has killed five out of the eight Vietnamese who have caught it last year, taking the country’s death toll since late 2003 to 47.
Globally, the H5N1 virus has killed 219 people out of 351 known cases and most of the deaths are in Indonesia, followed by Vietnam, World Health Organisation figures show. Hundreds of millions of birds have died or been slaughtered. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh)