Nearly 100 patients have been diagnosed with the A/H1N1 flu virus in eight cities and provinces since the beginning of this year, but most are mild cases, according to the Ministry of Health.
The virus was most prevalent in Ha Noi with 67 confirmed cases, followed by HCM City with 22 cases.
Nguyen Van Binh, head of the ministry's Preventive Medicine Department, said that the warmer weather and temperature fluctuations were not favourable conditions for the flu to circulate.
However, the deputy director of the Central Tropical Disease hospital, Nguyen Hong Ha, warned the public to be precautious as there were signs that the number of patients was on the steep rise during the last month. Over the Tet holiday alone, more than 20 patients were tested positive for A/H1N1.
One severe case was a young healthy man whose health deteriorated very quickly after being infected with the virus, Ha said.
The first death related to influenza in Viet Nam this year was a 52- year-old male patient from Dong Anh District in Ha Noi who died on January 27. He had been admitted to Bach Mai Hospital suffering from a shortness of breath and a fever, and tested positive for the A/H1N1 flu virus on January 22.
The hospital said the patient had been addicted to alcohol and smoking.
Viet Nam had planned to buy 1 to 5 million doses of Pandemrix, a type of vaccine which is widely used to combat the virus. Groups that are highly susceptible to the influenza including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, children and pregnant women would be eligible for a free shot, but the vaccine has yet to arrive in Viet Nam.
The A/H1N1 flu virus hit Viet Nam in May 2009, infecting 10,000 people, leaving 50 dead. The epidemic was described as being under control in July 2010. — VNS