Thursday, December 10, 2009

Study eyes bird flu cases in children

HA NOI — Viet Nam kicked off an avian influenza survey on 12,000 over seven-year-olds in Thua Thien Hue and Tien Giang provinces, and Ha Noi yesterday.

"Outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred in almost all provinces in Viet Nam, yet the frequency of human infection among exposed populations remains unknown," said the United States Ambassador to Viet Nam, Michael Michalak.

The 12-month survey falls under the framework of a project focused on "Population-based seroprevalence of human avian influenza infection" jointly funded by the US National Institute of Health, the Henry Jackson Foundation and the World Bank.

The US$1.76 million project aims to estimate the seroprevelence and risk factor in Viet Nam, build testing capacity in the health sector and establish a specimen bank at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

Viet Nam ranks second in the world for the highest number of Avian Influenza infections and deaths among humans following Indonesia.

As of yesterday, 444 cases have been reported world-wide, including 262 fatalities in 15 countries. Five people have died from the H5N1 virus in Viet Nam so far this year. — VNS

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