Việt Nam records first human case of avian influenza in eight years

October 21, 2022 - 15:31
The newly detected case is a four-year-old girl in the northern province of Phú Thọ.
Phú Thọ Province has taken measures to monitor and detect suspected cases infected with avian influenza after a girl was positive for the A (H5) virus in the province. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Health has urged local health sectors to take measures to monitor and detect cases of avian influenza.

The move is to isolate and extinguish hotspots after the first human avian influenza A(H5) infection was recorded in Việt Nam after more than eight years - a four-year-old girl in the northern province of Phú Thọ.

The local Center for Disease Control said the girl, residing in Đông Thành Commune in Thanh Ba District, had a cough and fever on October 5.

Two days later, the child suffered from fatigue, yellow skin, yellow eyes and vomiting. She was taken to Thanh Ba District Health Centre where she was diagnosed with acute liver and renal failure.

The patient was transferred to Phú Thọ Obstetrics and Children's Hospital, and then the National Children's Hospital in Hà Nội where she tested positive for the avian influenza A (H5) virus on October 10.

The patient has suffered respiratory failure, liver and acute kidney failure, multi-organ failure and is being treated at the hospital’s Internal Medicine Department.

Relatives of the child patient said they killed a sick chicken for food more than two weeks ago.

This is the first human avian influenza A (H5) infection case since February 2014.

Việt Nam has recorded 128 cases of influenza A/H5 infection so far.

The provincial Sub-Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine said none of the households nearby reported dead or sick poultry or people with the same symptoms as the girl.

Results of the sub-departments avian influenza surveillance in March detected the virus in poultry, of which two samples were positive for A/H5N6 strain and four others positive for A/H5N1 strain.

The poultry was raised in five communes, including Sơn Thủy, Hoàng Xá, Bảo Yên, Đồng Trung in Thanh Thủy District and Mỹ Thuận in Tân Sơn District.

They have been vaccinated against the disease.

The provincial Centre for Disease Control said it guided Thanh Ba District’s health centre to take measures in place in order to prevent the virus from spreading out to the wider community.

No similar cases have been recorded and no outbreaks have been detected in poultry around the area where the patient lives. However, it is necessary to continue to monitor in the next 21 days, according to the centre.

Trần Như Dương, deputy head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said a team had been sent to Phú Thọ, in co-operation with the Department of Animal Health, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and local authorities, to conduct epidemiological investigations.

Sixty-five people who had close contact with the patient all tested negative for the virus. They are all in stable health condition.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương suggested local health sectors strengthen inspection and have early detection of suspected cases.

She asked health sectors to review professional guidelines on surveillance and prevention of avian influenza in humans, develop a prevention and control plan, and coordinate with the local veterinary sector to closely monitor the transmission to humans.

It was necessary to strengthen education on avian influenza preventive measures in high-risk areas. — VNS