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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Update - Vietnam's First Human Fatality Of

VZCZCXRO9572
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #0080/01 0240434
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240434Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7036
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4174
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3227
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5803
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1331
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0844
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0341
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1550
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 02 HANOI 000080

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, INR, OES/STC, OES/IHA, MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (STERN)
HHS/OSSI/DSI PASS TO OGHA (WSTIEGER/LVALDEZ/CHICKEY) AND
FIC/NIH (RGLASS) AND DIV-FLU (COX/MOHEN)
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), AND FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC (MMALISON), USAID (CBOWES/JMACARTHUR/MBRADY)
BANGKOK FOR APHIS (NCARDENAS), REO (JWALLER)
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE (ROSS)
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR(BRADY)
ROME FOR FAO
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (CORWIN)


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED AMGT CASC EAGR PINR KFLU VM
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE - VIETNAM'S FIRST HUMAN FATALITY OF
2008

REF: 07 HANOI 2116

HANOI 00000080 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: Contacts at the National Institute for Infectious
and Tropical Diseases (NIITD) confirmed to Embassy staff the first
human infection and fatality due to H5N1 in Vietnam for 2008. On
January 18, a Vietnamese man from Tuyen Quang province passed away
after consuming members of his flock of poultry that had become ill
and died. Government of Vietnam (GVN) animal health officials
responded and reported that several samples from nearby poultry also
tested positive for the H5N1 strain of influenza A. Though the
patient died five days ago, the Government of Vietnam (GVN)
offically notified the WHO on the evening of January 23. End
Summary.

2.(U) On Tuesday January 22, multiple international and local media,
quoting state-run media and government sources, reported the death
of a 32-year-old Vietnamese man from Lem village, Khang commune, Son
Duong District, Tuyen Quang Province (north of Hanoi) earlier this
week at Hanoi's National Institute for Infectious and Tropical
Diseases (NIITD). The victim initially became ill on January 16
after preparing and eating previously dead poultry. Family members
also ate the poultry, though we have no reports at this time of
additional human illness.

3. (SBU) NIITD staff confirmed to Health and Human Services (HHS)
officers that the man was admitted to NIITD in Hanoi after 1700 on
January 16. NIITD staff took human samples as per protocol. On
January 17, testing of these samples came back positive for H5N1 and
NIITD enrolled the patient in a clinical trial examining an
anti-viral medication. The patient, a member of an ethic minority
group (Cao Lan), died at 1730 on January 18. GVN authorities had
yet to notify the WHO of the death and the positive test result for
H5N1 as the evening of January 23.
4. (U) According to media reports, a relative of the dead man stated
that dead chicken and white-winged ducks were present near the
patient's home in early January. Per other media reports, the
National Center of Veterinary Diagnostics of the Department of
Animal Health (DAH) obtained positive results on January 19 for H5N1
in 3 out of 11 samples of poultry from five neigboring households
(including 10 chickens and one Muscovy duck). Provincial Veterinary
Sub-department authorities then collaborated with the commune
officials to cull all 535 fowl in the village and to sterilize the
area.
5. (SBU) USDA/FAS contacts in the Department of Animal Health within
the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed that the
dead man kept an eight bird flock. In early January, six died (two
chickens and four Muscovy ducks). The victim kept the remaining two
animals (Muscovy ducks) and invited seven neighbors to dinner. One
week later, the man developed a fever. None of the neighbors have
yet developed symptoms.
6. (SBU) Comment: Like the most recent human fatality from late 2007
(reftel), this case occured in a relatively remote province on which
the GVN has not focused its avian influenza response campaign
(including mandatory vaccinations). Both involved members of an
ethnic minority who ate either sick or already dead poultry.
Although the overall number and intesity of animal outbreaks remains
substantially lower than this time period last year, human exposure

HANOI 00000080 002.2 OF 002


through high risk behaviors, such as handling and prepapring sick or
already dead poultry, appear common in some areas. Additionally, in
both cases, the GVN failed to promptly notify the WHO. We will
remind our Vietnamese interlocutors of the need for prompt
notification to ensure proper international response and suggest
that the GVN consider increased education efforts in non-focus
provinces and among minority groups. End comment.

MICHALAK

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