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Cablegate: Vietnam - Avian Flu Update #4

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HANOI 000252

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

FOR CA/OCS/ACS/EAP; EAP/EX; EAP/BCLTV
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, AID (TDOLAN)
STATE PASS HHS
USDA FOR FAS/PASS TO APHIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMED AMGT CASC EAGR TBIO VM AFLU
SUBJECT: VIETNAM - AVIAN FLU UPDATE #4

--------------
CURRENT STATUS
--------------
1. (U) There are currently 58 cases of suspected avian
influenza in humans in Vietnam under investigation. Of
these, eight have been confirmed as H5N1 in the laboratory,
of which six have died. 21 possible cases have tested
positive for Influenza A on a rapid test, but have not yet
been confirmed on type. 27 other case are pending
investigation and awaiting lab results, i.e., admitted with
a flu-like illness and specimens taken. Two other earlier
possible cases were ruled out, i.e., old possible cases
whose type specific tests have now returned negative for
H5N1). Of the total 58 cases under investigation, 20 deaths
have occurred.

------------------------
ADDRESSING PAST CONCERNS
------------------------
2. (U) CULLING - PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE):
SUPPLIES OF PPE ARE BADLY NEEDED; HOWEVER, THE GVN IS
SEEKING DONORS TO COVER THE COSTS AND THUS FAR, NONE ARE
FORTHCOMING.

3. (U) Culling - Adequacy: WHO/CDC continue to describe
culling efforts as inadequate based on unofficial reports
from visitors to rural areas.

4. (U) HUMAN-TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION: TO DATE, NO CLEAR-CUT
CASES OF HUMAN-TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION HAVE BEEN IDENTIFIED IN
VIETNAM. CLUSTERS WITHIN FAMILIES ARE SUSPICIOUS, BUT IN
ALL CASES, POULTRY EXPOSURE MAY HAVE OCCURRED. ACTIVE
INVESTIGATION CONTINUES TO ASSESS POTENTIAL OF HUMAN-TO-
HUMAN TRANSMISSION, AND A NEW STUDY OF EXPOSED HEALTH CARE
WORKERS IS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN AT THE NATIONAL PEDIATRIC
HOSPITAL.

--------------------
EMBASSY PREPAREDNESS
--------------------

5. (U) CDC TDYER MARK SIMMERMAN PROVIDED A BRIEFING TO
EMBASSY AND CONGEN HCMC STAFF (VIA PHONE LINK) ON 29
JANUARY. ISSUES COVERED INCLUDED CURRENT SITUATION IN
VIETNAM AND THE REGION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO REDUCE
EXPOSURE TO AVIAN FLU. CONSULAR SECTION DISTRIBUTED RECENT
FACT SHEET ON AVIAN FLU BY WARDEN MESSAGES ON 29 JANUARY.

6. (U) HEALTH UNIT HAS FIELDED A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS ON THE
FLUE. IT HAS ORDERED 15 BOXES (FOR APPROXIMATELY TEN
PATIENTS) OF THERAFLU, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO ARRIVE NEXT
WEEK. CLEANING STAFF HAVE BEEN TRAINED IN ENSURING ROUTINE
DISINFECTING THROUGHOUT OUR FACILITIES, WITH INCREASED
FREQUENCY OF DISINFECTING IN HIGH VOLUME AREAS, AND HAVE
BEEN TRAINED IN THE PROPER USE OF PPE. PRECAUTIONARY
MESSAGES ARE POSTED IN BATHROOMS AND IN AREAS WHERE
COMMUNITY HAVE ACCESS (E.G., CONSULAR SECTION).

---------------
ECONOMIC IMPACT
---------------
7. (U) The economic impact of the avian flu so far has been
on the poultry industry, though reports are still sketchy.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)
estimates that the flu has infected 4.75 million poultry
with 255,000 dead, some from the disease and some from
culling. Vietnam's total poultry (duck and chicken)
population is 254 million. This sector has been growing
rapidly so that there are concerns that the influenza could
wipe out a rapidly growing sector. No impact on tourism and
aviation industries has been reported. In fact, the number
of foreign visitors coming to Vietnam in January has
reportedly increased by 17% compared to the same period last
year.
BURGHARDT

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