A 72-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City has died of influenza A subtype H1N1, also known as swine flu, becoming the city's first fatality from the virus, and the fourth in Vietnam, so far this year.
The man, known as N.H.C., a District 11 resident, was admitted to the 7A Military Hospital on May 2 and died the next day.
His family said he had traveled with his old comrades to the Shrub Forest in Can Gio District, HCMC, for two days, and returned with symptoms such coughing, a high fever, chest pain and breathing problems, adding that the other members in his family did not have the flu.
Doctor Tran Phu Manh Sieu, director of HCMC Center for Preventive Medicine told Thanh Nien that those who travelled with C. and 30 households in his neighborhood showed no signs of H1N1 infection.
The source for his infection remains unclear.
The HCMC and District 11 Centers for Preventive Medicine have sterilized his house and locality, as well as monitored those who had contact with the deceased man.
Two men, aged 23 and 46, in the northern province of Yen Bai and a 12-year-old girl, in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa died from H1N1 last month.
Tran Nhu Duong, deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said H1N1 has accounted for approximately 50 percent of flu cases in Vietnam over the first four months of this year. The figure was only around 7 percent at the same point last year.
More than 11,200 people in Vietnam have become infected with H1N1 since it broke out worldwide in 2009. The virus had claimed 70 lives by the end of 2011 before easing last year.
Reuters quoted a study published in the London-based Lancet Infectious Diseases journal last June as saying that the fatalities from the 2009 swine flu pandemic were between 284,500 and 579,000, and more than half of which were in Southeast Asia and Africa. The figure was much higher than the original count of 18,500 compiled by the World Health Organization.
Tran Dac Phu, deputy head of the General Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, said in a press conference on May 4 that Vietnam has yet to detect any cases of the new avian flu strain H7N9, which as of May 2, had killed 27 of 128 laboratory-confirmed human cases in China.
Taiwan also reported its first H7N9 case two weeks ago.
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