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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 04:06 GMT
Vietnam reports new bird flu case
Vietnam has reported its first case of bird flu to affect a human in more than three weeks.

Doctors say a 21-year-old man was admitted to hospital in Hanoi suffering from fever, respiratory problems, and liver failure.

Thirteen people have died of bird flu in Vietnam since the start of this year.

Vietnam has promised an international conference it will overhaul its poultry industry to try to stamp out bird flu.

The UN-sponsored meeting heard an appeal for extra money from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Only $18m was given last year, when the FAO estimated $100m was required.

Principally an avian disease, first seen in humans in Hong Kong, 1997
Almost all human cases thought to be contracted from birds
Isolated cases of human-to-human transmission in Hong Kong and Vietnam, but none confirmed

"There have been a few donors, but again given the size of the problem it is just glaringly insufficient," said the FAO's Samuel Jutzi.

The World Health Organization wants animals to be raised separately, and for birds to be kept in pens so that they cannot mix with wildfowl, who are believed to be the main carriers of the disease.

There is particular concern about ducks, who can carry the disease with no apparent symptoms.

Thailand is to slaughter about 2.7m free-range ducks.

Sibling sickness

The latest Vietnamese victim, from Thai Binh province in the north of the country is in a serious state.

"His condition is worsening and he is expected to be hooked to a respirator later today," said Nguyen Thi Tuong Van of Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

The victim's 14-year-old sister is also in hospital with a high fever, and is being tested for bird flu.

The two had both eaten poultry during Lunar New Year celebrations earlier this month.

Vietnam has seen bird flu outbreaks in 35 of its 64 provinces. A man died of the disease in Thai Binh in January after drinking raw duck's blood.

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