Vietnam has confirmed its second death from bird flu this year amid growing regional concerns over a potential resurgence of the deadly virus.
A 60-year-old woman in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu on January 30, one day ahead of Tet, Vietnam's Lunar New Year, when demand for poultry peaked.
Vietnam News Agency quoted Doan Tan Buu, deputy director of Dong Thap's health department, as saying on January 30 that Nguyen Thi U., a housewife in Thanh Binh District, had come in touch with poultry before developing a fever and other symptoms on January 22.
She was hospitalized in neighboring An Giang Province a day later and died on January 27, according to local health authorities.
On January 29, the Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute confirmed that her sample tested positive to the H5N1 virus.
It was Vietnam's second fatality this year since a 52-year-old man from the southern province of Binh Phuoc died on January 18 after receiving treatment in Ho Chi Minh City.
With the disease claiming 64 lives so far, Vietnam has recorded one of the highest fatalities from bird flu, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The H5N1 virus has caused 649 confirmed flu cases in human since it re-emerged in 2003, 385 of whom died, the WHO said.
Strains of the H5, H7, and H9 avian influenza subtypes have caused human infection, primarily following direct contact with infected poultry, AFP said.
But experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to trigger a pandemic, it said.
Vietnam has recorded no cases of bird flu caused by the H7N9 strain virus so far but there is a possibility that it could spread in the country because it has appeared in China’s provinces near Vietnam, health authorities said.
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