Vietnam has confirmed its first human death from bird flu in nine months.
To Duc Sinh, director of the Preventive Medicine Centre in southern Binh Phuoc province, said today that a 52-year-old man died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu on the way to hospital in the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City on January 18.
Mr Sinh said the man developed a fever and other symptoms on January 11 after he slaughtered a duck bought in the village where chickens died of unknown reasons several days later.
Health workers have disinfected the village, he added.
Vietnam's last human bird flu death was reported in April last year.
Bird flu remains hard for people to catch, with most people falling ill after being in close contact with infected poultry, but experts have long feared it could spark a pandemic if it mutates into a form that spreads easily among people.
In Manila, agriculture officials said today that the Philippines would continue a years-long ban on the importation of bird and poultry meat from China after Chinese authorities reported the latest outbreak of bird flu in their country.
Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said in a statement that China's Animal Disease Control Centre reported last month an outbreak in three villages in northern Heibei province.
The ban includes Chinese poultry used to prepare the popular Peking duck dish, according to Simeon Amurao, of the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry.