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Vietnam finds new case of human bird flu
Updated: 2004-12-30 11:36

A 16-year-old Vietnamese girl has been infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus and her condition is stable, a doctor said on Thursday.

The girl, from the southern province of Tay Ninh, was hospitalized with high fever on Sunday. Tests showed she was infected with the bird flu virus.

"Her condition is not getting better or worse compared with two days ago," doctor Tran Tinh Hien, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases, told Reuters.

"She still has to use a respirator," he said.

A total of 32 people -- 20 in Vietnam and 12 in Thailand -- have died of bird flu this year.

Vietnamese authorities had informed the World Health Organization of the latest infection, the U.N. health agency said.

Last week, Japan said at least one person there had been infected with bird flu.

Vietnam said this month bird flu had been detected again in six southern provinces and more than 10,000 birds had been culled to prevent the virus spreading and infecting people.

State media said on Thursday the girl's family has killed and eaten sick chickens they raised at home more than 10 days ago. Three days later the girl started coughing and developed a high fever, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

Tay Ninh province, bordering Cambodia, was hit by bird flu outbreaks in January and February this year after the disease broke out in the Mekong river delta in December last year.

Experts say the bird flu virus could mutate and cause a pandemic that could kill millions of people.

The onset of cooler weather could lead to more cases of the virus, health officials say.

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