A 29-year-old woman from the central province of Khanh Hoa died on Monday, becoming the country's first fatality among almost 1,000 influenza A (H1N1) patients detected so far in the country.
According to the report from the provincial Health Department to the Ministry of Health, Tran Thi Kim Loan died at around 11:45 p.m. at the Khanh Hoa General Hospital.
The patient, who worked for a roadside pho (Vietnamese noodle) eatery in Nha Trang Town's Vinh Tuong Ward, reportedly had symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough and running nose since July 25.
On July 29, she came to the Military Hospital 87 and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Loan then refused the doctor's recommendation to stay for treatment.
She returned to the hospital the following day after experiencing breathing difficulties and was diagnosed with viral pneumonia. The patient was treated with Tamilflu and antibiotics, while blood samples were taken for H1N1 testing by the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute.
On July 31, the institute confirmed she had contracted the H1N1 virus and tested negative for the H5N1 virus, commonly known as bird flu.
The patient was transferred to Khanh Hoa General Hospital early Monday but she succumbed close to midnight the same day.
A senior official of the Military Hospital 87 said Tuesday her nine-year-old son had also contracted H1N1 but was in stable condition under treatment and quarantine.
Her four-year-old daughter has tested negative for the virus, while test results for her husband were not available.
The Khanh Hoa Department of Health on Tuesday convened a high- priority meeting to review Loan's treatment and measures to prevent further infections.
Health officials have sprayed decontaminants at the houses of Loan and her relatives but they were yet to find out how she had contracted the disease.
Dr. Le Tan Phung of the department said Loan had not come to the hospital in time for examination and treatment.
He advised people to get themselves examined as soon as possible if they had flu-like symptoms or come into direct contact with H1N1 patients.
Khanh Hoa Province confirmed its first H1N1 case on June 16 and has recorded 23 cases so far, including Loan's. Seven patients are being treated under quarantine and the rest have been discharged after full recovery.
Doctors, medical workers hit
The Thong Nhat Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday reported four doctors and five medical workers had tested positive for swine flu, as the H1N1 virus is also known.
The afflicted worked at several sections in the hospital, including the diagnostic ward and the ward for treatment of infectious diseases.
A hospital doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, said most of the infected cases hadn't shown any symptoms but were found with the disease after a procedural test.
The doctor also added that the infected cases were being treated at either the hospital or at their homes, and that all were in stable condition.
The Thong Nhat Hospital was treating 14 H1N1 patients when its nine staff members were found with the infection Tuesday.
The HCMC Department of Health on Tuesday closed the temporary clinic that had been set up on July 23 at the Nguyen Khuyen Private High School in Tan Binh District to quarantine and treat infected students.
More infections nationwide
The central province of Quang Tri reported its first H1N1 case on Tuesday.
Tran Thi Phuong Quyen, 39, of the province's Dong Ha Town, had returned from HCMC on July 26 and was admitted to the provincial Preventive Health Center last Thursday with flu-like symptoms.
It was confirmed Tuesday that she had tested positive for swine flu.
The Phu Yen General Hospital in the eponymous province Tuesday reported they had quarantined three people suspected of having contracted H1N1. These were the first cases quarantined for the disease in the central province.
The three people, aged between 18 and 20, are relatives and had returned from HCMC several days earlier with symptoms of fever and cough.
The Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed another 24 H1N1 cases to raise the country's tally to 995 cases, of whom 521 people have been discharged from hospitals after full recovery.
Among the new cases were 10 in the southern, 11 in the northern and three in the central region, the ministry said.
The ministry on Tuesday also issued a new guide with more details about diagnosis, treatment and preventive measures against the virus, updating the one issued on April 29.
Jetstar Pacific airlines said Tuesday it has supplied masks to more than 700 employees who have regular interaction with passengers, including 200 pilots and flight attendants.
National carrier Vietnam Airlines has also equipped all its employees with masks and conducted regular health checks on more than 1,800 flight attendants.