Bird flu spreads in southern Vietnam

After Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, southern Can Tho city had reported the first confirmed and suspected cases of A/H1N1 bird flu, the provincial Preventive Medicine Center said Wednesday.

According to a report by Dan Tri, a local media channel, an 84-year-old woman patient at the Can Tho General Hospital has been tested positive to A/H1N1 virus, becoming the first confirmed infection case in Can Tho after years of being free from the virus, said the center.

One doctor and two nurses at the hospital have shown symptoms of A/H1N1 infections, after taking care of the old woman. The three medical workers have been isolated for bird flu treatment.

Earlier this month, Ho Chi Minh City reported 28 suspected and confirmed cases of A/H1N1 infection, including 16 confirmed ones.

Of the 28 suspected cases, eight are medical workers at the Tu Du Hospital, a major maternity institution in Vietnam.

According to the World Health Organization, A/H1N1 flu can be transmitted by droplets emanating from unprotected coughs and sneezes, hand contamination, and interpersonal encounters in crowded closed spaces.

In a tropical country like Vietnam, the flu circulates the entire year round, usually reaching several peaks in the rainy season. The A/H1N1 virus causes pernicious respiratory infection.

Vietnam experienced an H1N1 pandemic in 2009, with over 9,000 cases of people contracting the disease and nearly 20 deaths within four months of the year, according to its Health Ministry.