Vietnam: H1N1 epidemic continues to accelerate

Updated On: Sep 24, 2009

An H1N1-positive woman has died in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old was admitted to Ben Tre’s hospital on September 16 with a severe cough and respiratory difficulties and later transferred to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, said Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the ministry’s Preventive Health Department.

She died at the Cho Ray hospital four days later.

Vietnam also reported 194 more cases of H1N1 infection, including 120 in the south, 46 in the north, six in the central region and 22 in the Central Highlands.

It takes the country’s tally of swine-flu victims to 7,636, with 56 of the 63 provinces and cities reporting cases. Of them, 5,047 have been treated and discharged from hospitals.

The disease has killed 10 people. Two fatalities were recorded last month, while eight have been reported this month.

Moreover, 90 percent of people with flu in Vietnam have swine flu, compared to 70 percent last week.

In response to the rising number of deaths and infections, the Ministry of Health has decided to make A/H1N1 vaccine available from early next year for at-risk groups like pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, Nga said.

On the same day, the US Embassy in Hanoi said the United States would support Vietnam’s efforts to combat bird flu and other pandemic influenza through a three-year project with likely funding of US$10 million.

Scheduled to begin next month, the project will include joint cross-border pandemic exercises with China and Laos, and support to develop and improve pandemic preparation in Vietnam’s provinces, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Since 2005, the US Government has allocated around $50 million to help Vietnam combat avian and pandemic influenza.


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