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Cablegate: Vietnam - Avian Flu (Ai) Update #12

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000392

SIPDIS

FOR CA/OCS/ACS/EAP; EAP/EX; EAP/BCLTV
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC
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 #12

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

1. (U) THE WHO INVESTIGATIVE TEAM REPORTS 19 CONFIRMED
HUMAN CASES OF H5N1, OF WHICH 14 HAVE DIED. CASE AND
FATALITY COUNTS HAVE NOT CHANGED SINCE TUESDAY 2/12/04.

---------------------------
BUSINESS COMMUNITY CONCERNS
---------------------------

2. (U) ON FEBRUARY 11, 2004, THE HANOI AMERICAN CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE HOSTED A LUNCHEON FORUM TO HELP ANSWER QUESTIONS ON
AVIAN INFLUENZA POSED BY THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. MARY KAMB,
MD (CDC) AND BOB DIETZ, THE WHO SPOKESPERSON, GAVE
PRESENTATIONS ABOUT WHAT IS KNOWN ABOUT AVIAN INFLUENZA AND
ON THE CURRENT SITUATION IN VIETNAM. FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS
REFLECTED THE CONCERN OF THE COMMUNITY AND RANGED FROM "HOW
DO I PROTECT MY EMPLOYEES" TO "HOW LONG WILL THE OUTBREAK
LAST" TO DISCUSSION OF THE MACRO- AND MICRO-ECONOMIC IMPACT
OF THE OUTBREAK. OTHER PARTICIPANTS ASKED FOR CLARIFICATION
OF THE REPORT OF H5N1- POSITIVE NASAL SWABS OBTAINED FROM
PIGS IN VIETNAM AND THE FOOT AND MOUTH OUTBREAK IN SOUTHERN
PROVINCES. THE FORUM WAS ATTENDED BY AMERICAN BUSINESS
REPRESENTATIVES, PRIVATE AMERICANS, JOURNALISTS, AND
INTERESTED PARTIES FROM OTHER EMBASSIES AND NGOS.

---------------
ECONOMIC IMPACT
---------------

3. (U) The World Bank Vietnam released a preliminary
assessment late last week on the potential economic
consequences from the avian influenza epidemic. The report,
noting that avian flu has primarily affected rural areas,
cautioned that if the virus becomes transmissible from human
to human, the economic consequences would be much higher.
So far, avian influenza effects on international travel to
Vietnam have been limited. The World Bank's assessment
stressed that avoiding human-to-human transmission would be
key to limiting economic and obvious human costs of the
avian influenza epidemic.

4. (U) AS OF FEBRUARY 5, ACCORDING TO THE WORLD BANK,
APPROXIMATELY 15 MILLION BIRDS HAVE BEEN CULLED, WITH A
MARKET VALUE OF APPROXIMATELY USD3/CHICKEN. BY THIS
MEASURE, THE BANK'S ROUGH ESTIMATE OF DIRECT ECONOMIC LOSSES
IS AT LEAST USD45 MILLION. (NOTE: ACCORDING TO VIETNAMESE
PRESS REPORTS, HOWEVER, THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND
RURAL DEVELOPMENT SAID THAT AS OF FEBRUARY 9, NEARLY 30
MILLION BIRDS HAVE BEEN CULLED. END NOTE). THE WORLD BANK
PROJECTS THAT LOSSES COULD RANGE FROM JUST OVER 0.1 PERCENT
TO NEARLY 1.0 PERCENT OF GDP DEPENDING ON THE SEVERITY AND
EXTENT OF THE IMPACT OF THE AVIAN INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC. THE
GREATER THE IMPACT ON TRAVEL AND TOURISM, THE GREATER THE
LIKELY LOSSES TO GDP.

--------
STAFFING
--------

5. (U) VISAS HAVE BEEN EXTENDED FOR 2 WEEKS FOR 3 U.S. CDC
PERSONNEL CURRENTLY IN COUNTRY.

-------------------------------
CULLING AND ANIMAL SURVEILLANCE
-------------------------------

6. (U) AT THE LUNCHEON OF THE HANOI AMERICAN CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE, THE WHO SPOKESPERSON EXPLAINED THAT WHO BELIEVES
THAT CULLING IN VIETNAM IS NOT GOING WELL; THAT THERE IS NOT
A WELL-ORGANIZED, COUNTRYWIDE EFFORT TO KILL AFFECTED BIRDS;
AND, THAT THE COUNTRY IS UNABLE TO SUSTAIN A LARGE SCALE
CULLING RESPONSE.

7. (U) A VETERINARIAN ON THE WHO AVIAN FLU TEAM REPORTED
THAT HE HAD OBSERVED A PROVINCIAL ANIMAL SURVEILLANCE
PROGRAM IN A PROVINCE NEAR HANOI THAT COULD BE USED AS A
MODEL FOR SURVEILLANCE IN OTHER PROVINCES. THE PROGRAM USED
A BASIC SPREADSHEET PROGRAM AND TRACKED LOCATION OF INFECTED
FLOCKS ON A PAPER MAP. THE WHO TEAM MEMBER SUGGESTED THAT
FUNDING COULD GO TO UPGRADING THIS PROGRAM TO USE DIGITAL
MAPPING AS WELL AS PREPARING TRAINING MATERIAL TO EXTEND THE
PROGRAM TO OTHER PROVINCES.

--------------------------------------------- ----------
ACTION PLAN FROM THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL
DEVELOPMENT
--------------------------------------------- ----------
8. (U) THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
PRESENTED A PRELIMINARY ACTION PLAN TO CONTROL AVIAN
INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC TO THE INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT GROUP, A
GROUP OF DONORS AND CONSULTANTS FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
IN VIETNAM AND THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL STEERING
COMMITTEE FOR BIRD FLU CONTROL. THE PLAN PRESENTED IN
OUTLINE FORM INCLUDED EMERGENT TO LONG-TERM GOALS, INCLUDING
IMPROVEMENT OF LABORATORY DIAGNOSTIC CAPABILITY AND
CAPACITY, DISEASE CONTROL (INCLUDING CULLING AND
DISINFECTION), MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS, TRAINING IN RECOGNITION
AND CONTROL OF AI, IMPROVEMENT OF SURVEILLANCE AND REPORTING
PROGRAMS AND POULTRY PRODUCTION PRACTICES AND FACILITIES.
ANOTHER PRIORITY AREA IS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF COMPENSATION
PROGRAM.

9. (U) THE PLAN ALSO OUTLINED RESOURCE NEEDS AS FOLLOWS:
- PERSONNEL ARE NEEDED TO ESTABLISH A TASK FORCE TO INCLUDE
FULL-TIME NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS -
VETERINARIANS, EPIDEMIOLOGISTS, IT SPECIALISTS, LOGISTICS
SPECIALISTS, EXTERNAL RELATIONS, ACCOUNTANTS, INTERPRETERS
AND OTHERS.
- FINANCIAL RESOURCES FOR THE NEXT THREE MONTHS ARE EXPECTED
TO EXCEED SEVERAL MILLION US DOLLARS FOR THE EMERGENCY AND
MID-TERM GOALS. MENTION WAS ALSO MADE OF THE NEED FOR
FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO COMPENSATE FARMERS.

10. (U) NO SUCH PLAN HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY THE MINISTRY OF
HEALTH.
BURGHARDT

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