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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Update - Animal Outbreaks Spread, Possible

VZCZCXRO3167
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #0197/01 0520402
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210402Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7213
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4327
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3246
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5825
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1359
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0849
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0346
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1556
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 000197

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)
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), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC (MALISON), USAID (MACARTHUR/BRADY) 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 - ANIMAL OUTBREAKS SPREAD, POSSIBLE
NEW HUMAN INFECTION

REF: A. HANOI 80 B. 07 HANOI 2116

HANOI 00000197 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: The Government of Vietnam has confirmed recent
localized animal outbreaks in seven provinces scattered throughout
the country and has noted reports of dead poultry found in rivers
and streams in northern Vietnam -- a sign of a possible new bird flu
outbreak during a prolonged cold spell. As a result, the Ministry
of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has asked provinces to
take urgent measures to prevent new outbreaks of bird flu following
a reoccurrence of the virus that has killed four people in the last
two months, bringing the total number of human cases reported to 104
with 50 deaths. Delays in detecting poultry outbreaks, continued
high risk behaviors by the public despite awareness campaigns,
delays by patients in seeking health care, delays in diagnosis at
care facilities, and instances of poor communications between
government authorities remain causes for concern.

Animal Outbreaks in at Least Seven Provinces
--------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In addition to the animal outbreaks in Quang Binh and Thai
Nguyen provinces reported in ref A, the GVN reported outbreaks in
the northern provinces of Hai Duong, Nam Dinh, Quang Ninh and Tuyen
Quang and the southern province of Long An. In each case, the
Provincial Departments of Animal Health culled all poultry in
affected flocks, and reports from some sites indicate that local
officials have carried out other standard measures for control, such
as testing for the presence of the virus and environmental
sanitization. Additionally, DAH stated on its web site
(www.dah.gov.vn) that callers to an animal health department hotline
reported large numbers of dead birds in five northern provinces (Bac
Giang, Hai Duong, Ha Tay, Nam Dinh, and Bac Ninh), though it did not
give more details. DAH separately warned that bad weather, combined
with illegal transportation and trade of poultry products, could
easily lead to a recurrence of bird flu.

Details on Poultry Deaths
-------------------------

3. (U) On February 18, the GVN was notified of an outbreak at one
poultry raiser in Cu Tri village, Ngu Hung commune, Thanh Mien
district, in coastal Hai Duong province (approximately 50 kilometers
east of Hanoi), which killed 640 out of 800 unvaccinated poultry
(specifically 240 chickens, 200 ducks and 200 muscovy ducks), (Note:
Hai Duong is a priority province in which the GVN has made chicken
and duck vaccination mandatory). A day earlier, an outbreak was
reported in a poultry flock in Ngoc Thanh village, Cong Hoa commune,
Vu Ban district, in Nam Dinh province (another priority province,
about 100 kilometers southeast of Hanoi). Over one-half of a 3,450
poultry flock aged between one and two months died prior to
receiving vaccinations. On February 16, an outbreak occurred in
Thai Son commune, Ham Yen district, Tuyen Quang province, northwest
of Hanoi, resulting in 90 deaths out of flock of 142 unvaccinated
poultry. In Long An province, a February 9 bird flu outbreak at a
farm in Phuoc Loi commune, Ben Luc district, killed 150 out of 700
ducks which had not yet received second vaccinations. Two districts

HANOI 00000197 002 OF 002


in Quang Ninh Province, a priority area on the Chinese border,
reported outbreaks at poultry farms resulting in the deaths of 855
ducks, which had yet to receive the second round of vaccinations.

GVN Response
------------

4. (U) In response to the recent animal outbreaks, MARD Minister Cao
Duc Phat, who also serves as head of the National Steering Committee
for Avian Influenza Prevention and Control, on February 17 urged
ministries, departments and localities to take preventive measures
to early detect and deal with bird flu outbreaks. DAH has asked
local provinces to set up inspection teams to closely
monitor bird flu incidents and created a hotline to deal with
incidents of bird flu. DAH also ordered local areas to provide
vaccinations to poultry, especially free-range water birds, to
prevent transmission of the virus and to strictly inspect poultry
transportation, slaughtering, and trading, particularly in border
areas, such as Quang Ninh, where officials acknowledge they have not
been able to control poultry smuggling from China. MOH also asked
local health officials to raise public awareness of the danger of
the bird flu and advised residents to eat only vaccinated poultry
products.

Possible New Human Infection
----------------------------

5. (SBU) Doctors at National Pediatric Hospital, Hanoi, reported
over the weekend that a seven-year-old child from Hai Duong Province
had tested positive for the A (H5N1) virus, but this was not
confirmed by subsequent testing at the national influenza reference
center, NIHE. The child remains hospitalized in serious condition.

Comment
-------

6. (SBU) An uptick in animal infection is expected during the
colder, winter months, when influenza virus transmission usually
peaks, and may explain the recent concentration of poultry outbreaks
in the northern provinces. Most of the outbreaks have occurred in
small, unvaccinated flocks, though the unconfirmed reports of dead
birds in various water sources may indicate wider spread. The GVN
has called for a high surveillance for possible human cases.

MICHALAK

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