Two more die from bird flu in Vietnam
Vietnam reported the deaths of two more people from bird flu Saturday, pushing the toll to nine dead in three weeks, officials said.
A 35-year-old woman from the southern Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap died after being hospitalized, said Nguyen Ngoc An, director of Dong Thap's Preventive Medicine Center.
The woman developed a high fever a week after slaughtering a duck she received from her neighbor. She did not eat the poultry, however, and none of her relatives who ate it showed signs of the disease, An said.
An said authorities suspected the woman might also have been infected by stork droppings in a pond where she often worked.
The World Health Organization and other health experts fear that avian influenza could evolve into the next global pandemic if the virus mutates and human-to-human transmission occurs. There is, however, no evidence of that yet.
Last year, the virus spread to 10 Asian countries, killing or forcing the slaughter of about 100 million birds. Since that outbreak, 29 people have died in Vietnam and 12 in Thailand.
The WHO also has cautioned against transporting poultry from places affected by bird flu to areas devastated by last month's tsunami. The agency stressed that infected poultry must be "kept out of the food chain, including emergency food relief activities."