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Cablegate: Department of Animal Health Confirms H5n1 Risk From

VZCZCXRO7316
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHHI #0409/01 1001029
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091029Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7575
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4555
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3320
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5867
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1411
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0892
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0356
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1596
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
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//
RUEHSUN/USUN ROME IT

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000409

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, INR, OES/STC, OES/IHA, MED, OGAC
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/DMILLER) AND
FIC/NIH (RGLASS) AND DIV-FLU (COX/MOHEN)
USAID FOR ANE (CJENNINGS, MWARD) AND GH (KYAMASHITA, KHILL)
CDC FOR COGH (SBLOUNT), CCID (SREDD) AND GAP (BIRX, SIMONDS)
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC (MALISON), USAID (MACARTHUR/MBRADY/CBOWES)
BANGKOK FOR APHIS (NCARDENAS), REO (JWALLER)
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE (BROSS)
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR(BBRADY)
ROME FOR FAO
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR (ACORWIN)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED EAGR PINR KFLU VM
SUBJECT: DEPARTMENT OF ANIMAL HEALTH CONFIRMS H5N1 RISK FROM
CHICKENS SMUGGLED FROM CHINA

REF: A) HANOI 398 B) HANOI 90 C) 06 HANOI 630

HANOI 00000409 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The Vietnamese Department of Animal Health (DAH)
confirmed that chicken and cattle smuggled into Vietnam from Guangxi
province in China have tested positive for Avian Influenza
(chickens) and Foot and Mouth disease (cattle). Many of these
animals are destined for sale throughout northern Vietnam.
Government of Vietnam (GVN) detection and prevention efforts have
limited the scope of smuggled animals, but can only reduce, not
eliminate, the threat of the spread of disease. While Chinese
officials have not reacted well when Vietnam previously announced
infection in smuggled animals, the two countries informally
cooperate and China is developing a joint initiative focusing on AI
prevention. End Summary.

DAH Confirms Avian Influenza in Smuggled Chickens
--------------------------------------------- ----

2. (SBU) Do Huu Dung, veterinary epidemiologist in the DAH within
the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD),
recently informed ESTH staff that DAH testing of samples taken from
smuggled chickens confiscated in Lang Son and Quang Ninh provinces
along the northern border with China confirmed that the birds
carried avian influenza. Though Dung noted that the DAH numbers did
not exactly match those recently provided by Lang Son officials (ref
A), he stated that DAH has seen a recent increase in positive tests.


3. (SBU) As part of the centralized Vietnamese testing program, DAH
experts trained in the United States to use U.S.-produced advanced
diagnostic gene sequencing machines, analyzed swabs taken from
chickens confiscated in Lang Son. DAH found evidence that the birds
carried the virus. Dung discounted the possibility that the test
merely picked up AI virus gene sequences in the birds from Chinese
vaccination campaigns and stated that the tests detected the virus
itself. DAH commenced the testing program in 2007 with funding from
the Japanese Trust Fund. The number of tests in a year depends upon
the amount of smuggled chickens and the available funding. DAH uses
test results to highlight the health impacts of chicken smuggling
and to push provincial market control authorities to increase their
surveillance and interdiction efforts.

Lang Son and Quang Ninh Primary Smuggling Routes
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (SBU) Located across the border from Chinese egg raising centers
in Guangxi province, Dung stated that Lang Son was the primary
conduit for smuggled chickens entering the Vietnamese market,
particularly older laying hens ("spent hens") no longer viable as
egg producers. Smugglers also transport birds from Guangxi into
Quang Ninh province near the border gate at Mong Cai, before moving
them to markets in Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, and Hanoi. According to
press reports this week, traffic officials in Quang Ninh just
confiscated two tons of chicken and nearly 40,000 eggs, adding to
the already more than 60 tons of birds seized in the province in the

HANOI 00000409 002.2 OF 002


first three months of 2008. Despite these large numbers, however,
Dung reported more cattle smuggling at Mong Cai than poultry
smuggling. Other Vietnamese border provinces, which abut Yunnan
province, see little illicit bird commerce as Yunnan has few
commercial poultry and egg farms. Cambodia and Laos do not export
poultry (legally or otherwise) to Vietnam.

Vietnam-China Cooperation
-------------------------

5. (SBU) Dung noted little formal cooperation with China to halt
chicken smuggling, though the Chinese are planning a joint AI
prevention initiative. In the past, Chinese authorities responded
to Vietnamese announcements of positive tests in smuggled birds by
accusing the Vietnamese of "making excuses for a domestic problem."
Stung by this, and sensitive to relations with China, DAH no longer
focuses on the origins of smuggled birds. At the same time, Vietnam
and China informally share information and occasionally cooperate as
part of multilateral AI preventative efforts through ASEAN plus 3 or
ASEAN plus China. This might be changing as Dung noted that the
Chinese government recently invited him to Beijing to participate in
China's national AI policy review -- the first time Vietnam has been
asked to attend an internal Chinese policy process.

6. (SBU) China recently floated a proposal for additional bilateral
cooperation with Vietnam on AI prevention. Dung stated that Vietnam
is interested, though it expects some political maneuvering before
the two parties reach agreement. According to Dung, the Chinese
suggested that the provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi implement the
project with the GVN. Vietnam, slightly miffed at the Chinese
presumption that Chinese provinces should implement projects with
Vietnam's central government, intends to recommend that Quang Ninh
and Lang Son provinces partner with their Chinese counterparts. In
any event, according to Dung, authorities from both the Chinese and
Vietnamese governments would attend any signing ceremony and end up
coordinating any joint efforts.

Cattle Smuggling and Foot and Mouth Concerns
--------------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Though Dung noted continued bird smuggling into Quang Ninh,
he stated that the bigger issue was the illicit cattle trade near
the border gate at Mong Cai. DAH continues to find evidence of foot
and mouth disease in smuggled cattle, though the number of positive
tests has decreased somewhat from 2006. Typically, smugglers bring
the animals across the border and graze them with local residents
for a few months to "naturalize" the cattle as Vietnamese in order
to obtain health certificates to transport into other provinces.
The GVN has spent USD 25 million on protection and control of foot
and mouth disease over the past five years. Vietnam and China
cooperate on a program for cattle and pigs under the OIE Southeast
Asia Foot and Mouth Disease Campaign coordinated in Bangkok through
ASEAN with Australian assistance funding.

Michalak

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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