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Cablegate: Vietnam - Avian Flu (Ai) Update #10

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

UNCLAS HANOI 000347

SIPDIS

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 (AI) UPDATE #10

--------------
CURRENT STATUS
--------------

1. (U) THE WHO INVESTIGATIVE TEAM INDICATES THAT TYPE
SPECIFIC LABORATORY TESTS HAVE CONFIRMED THE TWO NEW CASES
OF H5 INFLUENZA IN HUMANS, BRINGING THE TOTAL NUMBER OF
HUMAN CASES IN VIETNAM TO 18 (13 OF WHOM HAVE DIED). THESE
TWO NEW CASES WERE HOSPITALIZED IN HCMC, AND INCLUDE A 6
YEAR-OLD BOY AND AN ADULT CASE.

2. (U) HOSPITALS ARE REPORTING CRITICAL SHORTAGES OF
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL.
SHORTAGES OF PPE CONTINUE AMONG CULLERS AND OTHERS WHO
HANDLE POTENTIALLY INFECTED BIRDS.

----
PIGS
----

3. (U) Despite initial press reports of evidence of large-
scale influenza infection in pigs/swine in Vietnam, there is
still no laboratory or other evidence whatsoever that this
is the case. Subsequent press reports by FAO Rome, WHO, and
the Vietnam government have been consistent in stating that
these press reports were in error. While surveillance of
pigs continues, there is no evidence that pigs are currently
a reservoir for this virus. Recently, results from a large
series of samples from pigs in affected provinces tested
outside of Vietnam found no evidence of influenza.

--------------
HUMAN-TO-HUMAN
--------------

4. (U) INVESTIGATION HAS CONTINUED ON THE QUESTION OF HUMAN-
TO-HUMAN TRANSMISSION IN THE THAI BINH PROVINCE FAMILY
CLUSTER. LABORATORY TESTS (PCR) APPARENTLY INDICATE THAT
THE TWO SISTERS IN THAT CLUSTER WERE BOTH INFECTED WITH THE
SAME STRAIN OF H5N1 FOUND IN POULTRY IN VIETNAM -- PERHAPS
STRENGTHENING THE LIKELIHOOD THAT INFLUENZA IN THESE YOUNG
WOMEN MAY HAVE INDEED BEEN SPREAD FROM ONE PERSON TO
ANOTHER, BUT RULING OUT MUTATION OR MIXING OF THE VIRUS TO
FACILITATE THAT TRANSMISSION. IT IS UNLIKELY THAT PERSON-TO-
PERSON SPREAD CAN EVER BE DEFINITIVELY CONFIRMED IN THIS
CLUSTER.

5. (U) ADDITIONAL TESTING BASED ON EARLY VIETNAMESE SAMPLES
CONTINUES IN SEVERAL LABORATORIES TO ASSESS EVIDENCE FOR ANY
MUTATION OR MIXING OF THE CURRENT H5 AVIAN VIRUS THAT COULD
REPRESENT A NEW FLU STRAIN THAT CAN BE EASILY TRANSMITTED
AMONG HUMANS. DISCUSSIONS INDICATE THAT THUS FAR, NO
EVIDENCE OF MUTATION OR MIXING HAS BEEN FOUND.
BURGHARDT

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