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Vietnam reports 2nd bird flu death this month

Written by: Staff
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HANOI, June 21 (Reuters) A 28-year-old Vietnamese woman died today of bird flu, Vietnam's second victim of the H5N1 virus this month, a hospital official said.

''She died early this morning of bird flu because her condition was too severe,'' said the official from the National Institute for Clinical Research of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi where the woman was treated.

The hospital official, who declined to be identified, said Phan Thi Xuyen, from the northern province of Ha Nam, was admitted two weeks ago and tests showed she was infected with the H5N1 virus.

Xuyen had not eaten any poultry for 10 days before her infection but her family raised 16 chickens. Ducks had died for unknown reasons in her village, according to state media.

Xuyen's home province Ha Nam is one of the 16 provinces and two cities that have been hit by the deadly flu virus since it re-emerged in Vietnam late last year and this year.

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 since late 2005, but this year it has spread nationwide in ducks and chickens.

This week Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved an order to import another batch of 200 million doses of vaccine to battle outbreaks in poultry.

The Health Ministry had confirmed Xuyen's bird flu test result and four others, including a 20-year old man from the northern province of Ha Tay who died on June 10.

The death of the woman raised Vietnam's toll since late 2003 to 44 people out of 98 cases reported by health authorities.

The World Health Organisation has not confirmed the latest cases.

Globally, the H5N1 virus has killed 191 people out of 313 known cases, according to a tally by the WHO. Hundreds of millions of birds have died or been slaughtered.

REUTERS LPB PM1337

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