HANOI, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam has recorded the first human infection with avian influenza A(H5) virus, known as H5 bird flu, since 2014, according to the country's Ministry of Health.
The latest case is a 5-year-old girl in the northern Phu Tho province, who ate a chicken with signs of sickness about a week before being hospitalized, the ministry said on Friday, adding that the patient is now in critical condition.
Local authorities took 65 samples of those who have had contact with the patient, which all returned negative for H5 bird flu, and their health is normal, according to Tran Nhu Duong, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Lien Huong has requested medical authorities to ramp up measures to monitor and detect avian flu cases early in order to extinguish hotspots. Avian flu prevention guidance also needs to be re-checked, while plans to prevent outbreaks need to be drafted.
Cases of avian flu among poultry are still circulating in multiple localities in Vietnam, said the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
There will be an increase in the number of poultry transported and sold as the demand will be rising during the Lunar New Year which will come in the next few months. The current weather is also favorable for the virus to develop. Therefore, there is a risk of the virus being transmitted to humans, said the department.
Since 2003, Vietnam has recorded 128 human cases of avian influenza, all of them infected with the A(H5N1) virus, according to the health ministry.
Among them, 64 people died, local online newspaper VnExpress cited the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology as reporting. ■