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Cablegate: Vietnam Avian Influenza Update - Scattered Outbreaks

VZCZCXRO2694
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #1920/01 3131016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091016Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6682
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3920
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3204
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5776
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1287
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0829
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0326
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1532
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS 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//
RUEHSUN/USUN ROME IT

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 001920

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
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/VALDEZ/DMILLER/HICKEY)
CDC FOR OGHA (SBLOUT/KMCCALL) AND DIV-FLU (NCOX/AMOHEN)
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (STERN)
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH (RGLASS)
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC (MMALISON), USAID (JMACARTHUR/MBRADY) BANGKOK
FOR APHIS (NCARDENAS), REO(JWALLER)
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE (BROSS)
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR(WBRADY)
ROME FOR FAO
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (ACORWIN)


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED AMGT CASC EAGR PINR KFLU VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE - SCATTERED OUTBREAKS
THROUGHOUT COUNTRY

REF: A. HANOI 1981 B. HANOI 1835 C. HANOI 1793

HANOI 00001920 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary. Avian influenza outbreaks continue to flare up in
various locations across Vietnam, with six provinces now reporting
infected birds over the past month. All have been quickly and
easily controlled. Officials have not yet linked the outbreaks,
though they may represent the early onset of the wave of infection
that normally spreads during the cooler, winter months. Testing has
shown that a Korean national with flu-like symptoms who recently
died in Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta did not/not suffer from
H5N1 avian influenza A. End Summary.

November Outbreak in Ben Tre Province
-------------------------------------
2. On November 9, the Department of Animal Health (DAH) in the
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported an
outbreak in a flock of 60 2 month-old ducks in Hoi An village, Da
Phuoc Hoi commune, Mo Cay district, Ben Tre Province (approximately
85 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City), the sixth province to have
reported outbreaks among poultry within the past month. The flock
began to sicken on November 1, leading to 36 deaths. DAH testing on
November 6 confirmed the presence of H5N1 avian influenza. Ben Tre
province borders Tra Vinh province, which suffered an earlier
outbreak (ref C).

November Outbreak in Ha Nam Province
------------------------------------

3. (U) On November 6, DAH reported the death of 590 ducks in
northern Ha Nam province (approximately 60 km south of Hanoi). The
die-off of the flock of two-month-old ducks started on November 5.
November 7 testing by DAH confirmed the presence of H5N1 avian
influenza. Additional tests also found the H5N1 virus in samples
taken from two dead chickens found in a river in that province.

Cao Bang and Quang Tri Hit Again
--------------------------------

4. (U) On November 5, DAH reported additional incidences of H5N1 in
Cao Bang and Quang Tri provinces, both of which earlier reported
isolated avian influenza outbreaks (ref B). Five out of seven
specimens from chickens and ducks in two communes of Trung Khanh
district of Cao Bang province tested positive for H5N1 by the
National Centre for Veterinary Diagnosis. Two villages (Phuoc Thi
and An My) in Gio My commune, Gio Linh district in central Quang Tri
province reported deaths of ducks between November 2 and 4,
resulting in the culling of 2,673 ducks. An Agriculture Ministry
official warned that continued flooding in Quang Tri could help
spread the virus to nearby areas. (Note: Related flooding in
provinces north of Quang Tri also may facilitate the continued
outbreak of cholera reported in ref A)

October Outbreak in Nam Dinh
----------------------------

5. (U) On October 31, DAH reported an outbreak in a flock of 400

HANOI 00001920 002.2 OF 003


unvaccinated 35-day-old ducks in My Loc District, My Phuc commune in
Nam Dinh province (about 70 kilometers southeast of Hanoi and close
to Ha Nam province). The ducks initially appeared ill on October 26
and over half the flock died on October 28. On October 30, the
National Centre for Veterinary Diagnosis Specimens confirmed the
presence of H5N1 in samples from taken from the flock. The
unvaccinated ducks were said to have been bought from Ha Tay
province (located between Ha Nam and Nam Dinh). On the same day, DAH
confirmed recurrence of outbreaks in Tra Vinh province in the Mekong
Delta in southern Vietnam. This outbreak occurred on October 29 in
Chau Thanh district, Thanh My commune and involved 500 ills ducks,
400 of which reportedly died (see ref C for details of an October 10
outbreak in a different district in Tra Vinh province).

Initial Cao Bang Outbreak
-------------------------

6. (U) On October 26, DAH reported an October 10 outbreak of avian
influenza in Trung Khanh district, Duc Hong commune in Cao Bang, a
mountainous northern province on the Chinese border. DAH reported
that samples tested for positive on 25 October for H5N1 influenza A
in 560 poultry (480 ducks and 80 chickens) in a small, rural
village. Though the onset of the outbreak occurred over two weeks
ago, villagers did not promptly report the incident to the
authorities. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc
Phat asked relevant agencies to strictly control the trading and
transportation of poultry and poultry products across borders and in
local markets to prevent the spread of this dangerous strain of the
H5N1 bird flu virus.

Possible Human Infection Debunked
---------------------------------

7. (SBU) The Pasteur Institute confirmed to Consulate staff that a
South Korean national who recently died in Can Tho City, in the
Mekong Delta, tested negative for H5N1. On Nov. 7, the Tropical
Disease Hospital of HCMC also referred a sample from a second Korean
national (this one in Dac Lac province), which also tested negative
for H5N1. Local media had erroneously reported that the first
victim possibly was infected with H5N1 and that his father in South
Korea also might have suffered from the virus.

Outbreaks Likely Unrelated
--------------------------

8. Currently six provinces scattered across the country -Quang Tri
(central), Cao Bang (far north), Ha Tay (north), Nam Dinh
(north),Tra Vinh (south) and Ben Tre (south) - have reported H5N1 in
the past 21 days. Based upon information received to date, it
appears that outbreaks are not linked the GVN used standard response
measures including culling, vaccination of surrounding flocks,
disinfection of duck housing, and restriction of the movement of
poultry beyond the outbreak area to contain each outbreak without
geographic spread. Most likely, these outbreaks represent the
endemic nature of the virus as well as possible continued
introductions from China.

HANOI 00001920 003.2 OF 003

GVN Worries about Probable Spread
---------------------------------

9. According to MARD's Veterinary Agency, flooding in the central
region and Mekong Delta, along with cold weather in the north,
create favorable conditions for the development of outbreaks of
H5N1. Experts worry that local lack of awareness may facilitate the
spread of this disease in fowl, particularly in rural areas, such as
Cao Bang, where locals throw dead birds into rivers and streams. At
a recent meeting of the National Steering Board for Bird Flu
Control, Deputy MARD Minister Bui Ba Bong asked the Veterinary
Agency and the Veterinary Institute to immediately send experts to
high risk provinces throughout the country.

MICHALAK

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