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UN Helps Viet Nam Boost Bird Flu Detection


UN Helps Viet Nam Boost Bird Flu Detection After Two New Reported Human Cases

The United Nations health agency is helping Viet Nam strengthen the detection of bird flu viruses after two more children were reported to have died from the disease, warning that cooler winter temperatures and activities linked to the approach of the Lunar New Year in February may increase the risk of further human cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned several times over the past year of the potential evolution of the virus into a human pandemic which, in the worst scenario, could have a devastatingly deadly result.

Increases in poultry marketing, transportation, and consumption with the approach of the Lunar New Year create conditions favouring the virus’s spread.

WHO said it had received reports of laboratory tests from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, indicating that the children, who died on 30 December and 4 January, were infected with the H5 virus subtype, which last year infected 45 people in Asia, 32 of them fatally, and resulted in the deaths or culling of more than 100 million birds.

The agency first issued a new call for heightened control measures in Viet Nam at the end of last month when another human case was reported. That person remains hospitalized in critical condition.

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