Feb 14, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Health officials in Vietnam reported today that the H5N1 virus has struck two men in two of the country’s northern provinces, killing a 40-year-old and sickening a 27-year-old, according to media reports.Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the health ministry’s preventive medicine department, said the 40-year-old man was from Hai Duong province, about 40 miles southeast of Hanoi, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the man’s illness, he will be recorded as Vietnam’s 103rd case-patient and its 49th death from the virus.The man died yesterday, 6 days after he was admitted to Vietnam’s tropical disease hospital in Hanoi, Nga told the AP.Dong Van Chuc, director of the provincial animal health department, said nine of the man’s 12 fighting cocks have died since late January, the AP reported. However, Reuters reported today that health officials said the man and his family ate two chickens that had died suspiciously and that poultry deaths have been reported in his neighborhood. Health workers are also monitoring his family members for signs of the disease.Meanwhile, Central Vietnam Television reported today that samples from a 27-year-old man from Ninh Binh province tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency. If the man’s illness is confirmed by the WHO, he will be listed as Vietnam’s 104th case-patient.The man was admitted to a Hanoi hospital 2 days ago, where he remains in critical condition, the country’s state-run Vietnam Television reported last night, according to a report today from Reuters. The health ministry said he had slaughtered two sick chickens on Jan 31, the report said.The two patients are Vietnam’s second and third reported to be infected with the H5N1 virus in 2008. Vietnam has the second-highest avian flu case count, after Indonesia. For now, without the two latest patients, the WHO’s total for the country stands at 102 cases and 48 deaths, compared with 127 cases in Indonesia and 103 deaths.