World News

Vietnamese family tests negative for bird flu

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Tests have found that four members of a family in southern Vietnam who were hospitalized with symptoms of bird flu were not infected with the virus, a doctor said Tuesday.

A 36-year-old woman and her three children aged three to 13 were admitted to Nam Can Hospital in Ca Mau province last week with fevers, coughing, decreased white blood cells and damaged lungs. The family had eaten a chicken that had fallen sick and died on Dec. 23.

"They tested negative for the H5N1 strain of bird flu," said Phan Van Tu, chief virologist at the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. "They were suffering from pneumonia."

Vietnam has not had any known human cases of bird flu for more than a year and is widely seen as a model for how to fight bird flu using extensive vaccinations of poultry, careful surveillance and slaughters of birds in infected areas.

However, in December, it reported its first bird flu outbreaks in poultry in a year in Ca Mau and two other provinces in the Mekong Delta.

The outbreaks killed or forced the slaughter of more than 13,000 birds in the three provinces.

Vietnam has recorded at least 42 human deaths from the H5N1 virus since late 2003, according to the World Health Organization. The country’s last reported human case was in November 2005.

At least 157 people out of 261 known to have been infected with H5N1 worldwide have died, WHO says.



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