Bird flu deaths increase

A 10-year-old girl has died of bird flu in Vietnam, the country’s 12th confirmed victim this month. Medical official, Ngo Van Hoang, said the girl developed a high fever and a bad cough, one week after helping her family bury some dead chickens. The death has raised concerns that the disease could re-emerge and has also renewed scientists’ fears that the virus could mutate into a form easily spread through humans. Vietnamese officials are investigating whether a 13-year-old girl and her mother from the Dong Thap province, who both recently died from the virus, infected each other, or caught the disease from infected ducks. Experts are worried that the strain of the virus causing the deaths, H5N1, will combine with a strain of human flu and create a highly infective virus, easily passed from person to person.