Third bird flu patient of the year recovers, leaves Vietnam hospital

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Vietnam's third bird flu (H5N1) patient of this year was discharged Tuesday after being treated for nine days in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital.

A Tuoi Tre newspaper report quoted a doctor as saying that Truong Phu Son, 22, was no longer in a critical condition.

He is now in stable health, said Dr. Nguyen Thanh Truong, chief of the Contagious Diseases Ward at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

However, he still needs weekly check-ups, since damage caused to lungs by H5N1 virus-related pneumonia cannot be fully healed, Truong said.

Truong also said Son's case was as critical as cases recorded in 2003 when bird flu first broke out in Vietnam. Without timely and intensive treatment he could have not been able to recover, he added.

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Son, a Thanh Hoa native who has been working in the southern province of Binh Duong over the past year, had a fever on February 17.

He was admitted to the hospital six days later. The man said he had bought duck meat for food from HCMC's Cu Chi District several days before showing symptoms of the disease.

In January, two H5N1 patients died because treatment did not begin on time, experts say.

Since 2003, bird flu outbreaks have killed and led to the forced culling of tens of millions of fowl in Vietnam, one of the countries most affected by the H5N1 virus.

According to a World Bank report released last October, 119 human cases of avian flu were confirmed in Vietnam as of March 2011, 59 of which were fatal.

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