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Bird Flu In Vietnam: Woman Dies Of Virus

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A vendor feeds her chicken for sale along a road on the outskirts of Hanoi on February 16, 2009. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
A vendor feeds her chicken for sale along a road on the outskirts of Hanoi on February 16, 2009. (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

HANOI, Vietnam -- A Vietnamese official on Thursday confirmed the country's second human death from bird flu in less than a month, after it went nearly two years with no reported fatalities.

Test results confirm that a 26-year-old woman died of the disease Jan. 28 after being hospitalized in southern Soc Trang province, said Truong Hoai Phong, director of the provincial health department.

The woman had recently given birth in another hospital, but her infant son tested negative for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, Phong said.

Phong said the woman had slaughtered and eaten dead chickens her family raised. He said dead and sick poultry were reported in the woman's neighborhood.

Phong said the woman's house has been disinfected and samples from poultry and people who were in contact with the woman were being tested.

The death came about two weeks after an 18-year-old duck farm worker died of the virus in another province in southern Vietnam.

The virus rarely infects humans and usually only those who come in direct contact with dead poultry, but experts fear it will mutate into a new form that passes easily from person to person.

The World Health Organization says that as of Jan. 24, there have been 344 human deaths from 583 confirmed bird flu cases around the world since 2003. About 60 of those deaths occurred in Vietnam.

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