HANOI, May 31, 2009 (AFP) - Vietnam has recorded its first case of swine flu after a man tested positive for the virus, the health ministry said Sunday.
"It is the first patient of the virus A(H1N1) in Vietnam," Nguyen Huy Nga, the ministry's spokesman, told AFP, adding the case was "confirmed officially by our ministry this morning."
An initial test conducted Saturday at the tropical diseases hospital in southern Ho Chi Minh City was positive, Phan Van Tu, a doctor with the city's Pasteur Institute, told AFP earlier.
The patient was in a stable condition with a slight fever, Tu added.
State television reported that the patient is a 23-year-old student who returned home early last week from the United States via Hong Kong.
Emergence of the virus in Vietnam was "highly likely" given its international travel links, Shelaye Boothey, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO), told AFP.
"They've had some good detection measures in place," she said.
Vietnam has been monitoring the health of passengers arriving at its airports in a bid to detect swine flu.
Swine flu was first detected last month in the United States and Mexico.
In its latest update the WHO said 53 countries have reported 15,510 cases of swine flu, including 99 deaths.