Vietnam province reports 5 cases of swine flu

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A doctor examines a flu patient at Lao Cai General Hospital. Photo by Tung Lam

Health authorities in the northern province of Lao Cai on Saturday announced the province's first five cases of the year involving humans infected with influenza A subtype H1N1, known as swine flu.

The patients come from two families in a village in Bat Xat District near the Chinese border. All suffered from coughs, fevers, pulmonary inflammation and breathing difficulty.

They have been quarantined at the provincial general hospital while local health authorities are closely monitoring those who had recent physical contact with them.

Swine flu in Vietnam has affected more than 11,200 people since 2009, killing 70 of them by the end of 2011.

The epidemic eased last year, but hospitals in Hanoi reported three deaths last month, including a 12-year-old girl from nearby Thanh Hoa Province. Two of the girl's family members had also been infected, but were able to recover.

Tran Nhu Duong, deputy director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said in an April 24 Tuoi Tre report that 48 percent of flu patients since the beginning of this year had H1N1.

Vietnam has yet to report a human case of H7N9, a new bird flu virus that has killed more than 20 people in China among 102 infections as of April 22, according to a report in Time magazine. The virus has reportedly spread to Taiwan.

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