Viet Nam girl dies of bird flu, Asia's 15th death
( 2004-02-04 14:58) (Agencies)
A 17-year-old in Viet Nam has died of bird flu, becoming the 15th person to die of the disease sweeping through poultry flocks in Asia, a medical official said Wednesday.
The girl was the 11th person to be killed by the H5N1 avian flu virus in Viet Nam. Four people have died in Thailand.
"Test results on the girl showed that she died of the H5N1 virus," said Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute.
Details about the girl, including when she died, were not immediately available.
The World Health Organization has not confirmed the case, Robert Dietz, a spokesman for the U.N. health agency said.
Tuesday, the WHO said bird flu had killed a young man in southern Viet Nam, a day after a hospital had announced the death.
The flu has devastated poultry flocks across large parts of Asia but Viet Nam and Thailand are the only places where the virus has spread to people and where people have died.
Health authorities believe the victims caught the flu from contact with sick chickens but the WHO said this week it was investigating the possibility that two of the people who died in Viet Nam caught it from another person.
The big fear is the bird flu virus will combine with a human flu virus and mutate and become easily passed between people who have no resistance to it.