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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Update - Sporadic Animal Outbreaks

VZCZCXRO9100
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #0725/01 1081105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181105Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5161
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 2902
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 5618
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0660
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3121
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5680
RUEHVN/AMEMBASSY VIENTIANE 3943
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1147
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0795
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0296
RUEHSUN/USUN ROME IT
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1482
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP//
RHMFISS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC//DHO-3//
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5//
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HANOI 000725

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, INR, OES/STC, OES/IHA, MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
STATE PASS TO HHS/OGHA (STIEGER, BELL AND BHAT)
STATE PASS TO CDC (COX AND MOHEN)
USDA PASS TO APHIS
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (STERN)
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID (MACARTHUR AND BRADY)
ROME FOR FAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU AMED AMGT CASC EAGR PINR SOCI VM
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE - SPORADIC ANIMAL OUTBREAKS
CONTINUE


HANOI 00000725 001.2 OF 004


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

REF:

1. (U) Summary: Since mid-February, sporadic outbreaks of H5N1
avian influenza (AI) have occurred in isolated poultry flocks. The
outbreaks have been readily controlled by the Government of Vietnam
(GVN). No human cases were found. Local media reports that the
2007 poultry vaccination program is behind schedule. The Minister
of Health (MOH) confirmed that the GVN will cooperate with
international organizations and other governments in sharing
information. News of USG expected FY2007 AI funding for Vietnam is
mixed, with increased funding for USAID but decreased funding for
CDC programs in country. End Summary.

2. (U) There have been no reported confirmed cases of H5N1 AI in
humans since November 2005.

CONTINUING ANIMAL OUTBREAKS
--------------------------

3. (U) Sporadic isolated poultry AI outbreaks continue to occur
following GVN's mid-February declaration that Vietnam is AI-free.
They have occurred in several provinces in southern delta and
northern regions. These outbreaks have involved unvaccinated
hatchling populations, mostly duck flocks. Involved provinces
include Ha Tay and Hanoi in the northern region and Vihn Long, Can
Tho, and Ca Mau provinces in the southern region. Animal health
authorities quickly confirmed the presence of the virus, culled the
affected flocks, and bolstered local prevention and control efforts.


4. (U) Comment: The current wave of poultry outbreaks from December
2006 through the present has affected 11 provinces and about 100,000
birds have been culled. In the two previous waves (5 months from
December 2004 to April 2005, and 3 months from October to December
2005) there were more provinces effected (36 and 18) and more birds
reported culled (1,800,000 and 4,000,000). Therefore, by
comparison, the current wave of outbreaks is relatively minor.
Further, the current wave has been restricted almost entirely to
unvaccinated hatchlings, mostly duck flocks, and has not appreciably
spread to mature or vaccinated ducks or chickens. The downward
trend parallels persistent and aggressive control activity by the
GVN and support from international donors.

5. (U) The National Steering Board for the Prevention and Fight
against AI in Humans requested that localities reinforce their
preventive measures against AI in both poultry and humans. Related
agencies are required to work closely at border checkpoints to
promptly detect suspected cases. Fifteen provincial and municipal
television stations broadcasted AI awareness programming and the GVN
plans to air radio versions of the program in 10 ethnic minority
languages.

6. (U) Local media reports that the 2007 poultry vaccination program
is behind schedule. Only seven provinces, including Hanoi, have
completed first round vaccinations. Thirty-four of Vietnam's 64
provinces and cities are preparing to vaccinate more than 47 million
birds. In previous years, the GVN purchased low-cost poultry

HANOI 00000725 002.2 OF 004


vaccines from Chinese suppliers. Le Minh Sat, Deputy Director of
the Science and Technology Department of the Ministry of Science and
Technology (MOST), reported to national media that Vietnam expects
to start domestic vaccine production this September. MOST is
expected to complete project evaluations later this month.

7. (SBU) In a meeting with FAO, MARD Minister Phat has mentioned
that the efficacy of the vaccines in fowl has declined and in his
view a greater capacity for sequencing and possibly vaccine
production is needed. He said that two years ago the imported
Chinese vaccine was 80 pecent effective; last year 67 percent, and
currently it is only 60 percent. In-country and regional experts
have said that this is consistent with the larger picture that
Vietnam needs to move beyond emergency measures and look at more
internal capacity development.

8. (U) While speaking at a pandemic influenza planning conference in
Hanoi on April 6, Minister of Health Tran Thi Trung Chien said that
Vietnam is mobilizing all available resources to combat AI in
humans, including stockpiling medications and working to improve
public awareness. The Minister affirmed that the country would
strengthen coordination among ministries and increase the first
responder capacity. She also pledged to fully cooperate and share
information with international organizations and governments
combating AI. Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, Director of the Vietnamese
Administration for Preventive Medicine (VAPM), MOH, reported to
local media that Vietnam has an ample supply of Tamiflu (oseltamivir
phosphate) to combat outbreaks of AI in humans. Vietnam will
receive around 71,000 doses of Tamiflu out of the 500,000 doses that
the Japanese Government pledged to give to Southeast Asian
countries.

9. (SBU) USAID's Regional Mission organized an AI partners' meeting
in Bangkok on April 3 and 4. Dr. Dennis Carroll, Director of
USAID's Avian and Pandemic Influenza Response Unit, noted that when
USAID support for AI programs began in 2006, AI activity was
reported in six countries. Today it is present in 56. He
highlighted the progress being made in Vietnam, Thailand, and
Indonesia but cautioned all participants that a regional epidemic
would still inflict heavy casualties and cause a breakdown in local
food supplies. Vietnam actions set an example of what the other
countries will have to do. In this regard, USAID already has been
funding government delegations from Sri Lanka and Egypt to come to
Hanoi to share best practices of their Vietnamese counterparts.

10.(SBU) With respect to FY2007 funding, USD 161 million has been
programmed in the last 18 months with approximately 46 million of
that going to AI programs in Southeast Asia. For this year, should
the AI supplemental for USAID presently before Congress be approved,
he expected a similar amount to be made available to support
activities in Southeast Asia. Given the progress to date, there
should be, however, a shift from quote emergency unquote assistance
to more medium term strategies. He estimates, pending the
Congressional appropriations, that the individual country level for
Vietnam should be in the range of USD 5 to 8 million and that will
be channeled through USAID (note: this range represents a possible
increase). In designing our activities, the country team will be
looking maintaining our support for the current government strategy
that we and other donors subscribe to while simultaneously assisting

HANOI 00000725 003.2 OF 004


MARD and MOH to begin transitioning to more medium term strategies
for the control of the H5N1 virus.

11. (U) The GVN has approved the first year of a 5-year USD 1.15
million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) on the Control and Prevention of AI in
Humans (2007-2012). This is the last step leading to VAPM, MOH,
utilization of FY2006 funds. This broad project encompasses
activities on the human side under all three Presidential pillars:
preparedness and communication; surveillance and detection; and
response and containment.

12. (SBU) Given overall funding constraints, CDC Atlanta has
appraised CDC-Vietnam that cooperative agreements previously funded
from an emergency supplemental source will experience an approximate
50 percent budget reduction in FY2007. This is expected to decrease
the cooperative agreement funding with VAPM from USD 1.3 million to
USD 525,000. Discussion with the MOH has begun around modifications
of plans; activities are expected to be curtailed.

13. (U) USAID is providing USD 45,000 for the NGO Agronomes and
Veterinaires Sans Frontieres (AVFS) to maintain its AI prevention
work in Vietnam. The Phase II project will be continue to work in
coordination with MARD, provincial animal health departments, and
private partners such as Pfizer Animal Health, Synbiotics, Evialis,
Cargill, and Pronconco. The project will train first responders on
outbreak investigation, epidemiology, and safe poultry handling.

14. (U) On April 17, USAID and HHS held the USG AI Coordination
Meeting with USG-funded implementing NGOs and contractors. The
meeting looked at past USAID-funded programming and participants
discussed areas for improvement including more in-depth program
evaluation, a focus on program sustainability, increasing
communication between animal health and human health agencies,
increasing the beneficiary pool to include groups (e.g., poultry
transporters and slaughters) and increasing programs geographic
coverage.

15. (U) On April 12, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the World
Bank (WB) signed a USD 38 million loan to fund an AI prevention and
control project, allowing the implementation of the Avian Influenza
Emergency Recovery Project. The International Development
Association, the entity within the World Bank Group which provides
concessional funds for low-income countries, will finance the
project at USD 20 million. The EU and Japan will fund USD 15
million with the GVN providing the additional USD 3 million. The
project is broken into five components: a) AI Control and
Eradication in the Agricultural Sector; b) Influenza Prevention and
Pandemic Preparedness in the Health Sector; c) Integration and
Coordination; d) Results Monitoring and Evaluation; and e) Project
Management. The provinces receiving support include Lang Son, Ha
Tay, Thai Binh, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Thua Thien-Hue, Binh Dinh, Tay
Ninh, Long An, Tien Giang, and Dong Thap, which have all been hit by
animal AI outbreaks.

16. (U) Dr. Nguyen Huy Nga, Director of VAPM, MOH, was reported to
say that there is a sufficient amount of Tamiflu stored for the
fight against the deadly H5N1 virus in Vietnam. Vietnam will
receive around 71,000 doses of Tamiflu out of the 500,000 doses that

HANOI 00000725 004.2 OF 004


the Japanese Government pledged to give to Southeast Asian
countries.

17. (U) USAID held 2-day training-of-trainers workshops for human
and animal health workers on the use of personal protective
equipment (PPE) and decontamination kits in Hanoi on April 12 and
13, and in Ho Chi Minh City on April 16 and 17. Participants
learned about safe work practices for gathering samples and
preparing them for shipment to reference laboratories. The training
augments the March 2006 provision of PPE equipment and
decontamination kits.

18. (SBU) Comment: The GVN continues to effectively control sporadic
outbreaks, while investing in improving capacity to prevent and
respond. Putting funds in place and beginning expenditure takes
time. Overall, bilateral USG funding for AI programs is relatively
low compared with the total for multilateral joint UNDP and WB
projects. Coordination, especially in the provision of technical
assistance, is critical to best leverage USG investment. End
Comment.

ALOISI

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