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Cablegate: Vietnam: Avian Influenza Weekly Report for December

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HANOI 003384

SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR USAID/RDM-A

STATE FOR G; CA/OCS/ACS/EAP; EAP/EX; EAP/MLS; EAP/EP; INR;
OES/STC (PBATES); OES/IHA (DSINGER AND NCOMELLA)
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID/RDM/A (MFRIEDMAN AND JMACARTHUR)
USDA FOR FAS/PASS TO APHIS
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP (LSTERN)
USAID FOR ANE AND GH (DCARROLL, SCLEMENTS AND PCHAPLIN)
STATE PASS USTR (ELENA BRYAN)
STATE ALSO PASS HHS/OGHA (EELVANDER)
ROME FOR FAO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMED AMGT CASC EAGR PINR SOCI PGOV TBIO VM AFLU
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: AVIAN INFLUENZA WEEKLY REPORT FOR DECEMBER
29, 2005

REF: Hanoi 3353

1. (U) Summary. There have been no new human Avian
Influenza (AI) deaths in Vietnam since October 29. The
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) issued
a circular guiding the quarantine, transport and sale of
poultry and poultry products. Post's Marine Attache
observed four disinfection checkpoints in provinces in
northern Vietnam. The number of animal AI affected
provinces in Vietnam continues to drop from a high of 21 in
mid-November to seven this week, however, MARD has confirmed
that there are suspected outbreaks in Quang Tri and Ha Giang
provinces. Prime Minister Phan Van Khai declared that
despite some success in controlling the spread of AI,
outbreaks remain a high risk and called for continued
vigilance. The Ministry of Health (MOH) gave instructions
for strict monitoring of foreigners entering Vietnam from
countries affected by AI. Newpapers reported on a small
study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
suggesting Tamiflu resistance in two patients. End Summary.

AI SNAPSHOT
-----------

2. (U) As of December 27, 2006:

--Number of New Human AI Cases in Vietnam since October 29:
zero
--Current Number of Provinces still affected by AI in
poultry: seven
--Estimated number of poultry culled since October 1: 3.8
million

NEW ISSUES
----------

3. (U) There have been no new cases of human Avian
Influenza. The GVN confirmed that a suspected human AI case
in Soc Trang province in southern Vietnam tested negative
for H5N1. In reference to this case, the Pasteur Institute
commented that recently it has been receiving specimens from
between one to three suspected AI cases a day, mostly from
the Mekong Delta region. All have tested negative for H5N1.

4. (U) MARD officials have confirmed that there is a
suspected recurrence of AI in Quang Tri Province in central
Vietnam, where 231 waterfowl have died. In response, 1,180
poultry have been culled, and tests are underway to
determine whether the birds were infected with AI. In Ha
Giang Province in northern Vietnam, 19 geese are suspected
to have died of AI. Fifty-six geese have been culled, and
tests are underway to determine whether the birds were
infected with AI.

5. (U) With demand for poultry rising in anticipation of
Tet, Vietnam's Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) issued a circular
on December 23 guiding the quarantine, transport and sale of
poultry and poultry products. The sale of poultry and
poultry products originating from provinces with no AI
outbreaks in 2005 is unrestricted. Poultry and poultry
products originating in provinces that experienced an AI
outbreak in 2005 but have been outbreak free for over 21
days may be sold after a quarantine period. Poultry and
poultry products originating in provinces that experienced
an outbreak within the last 21 days may be sold only if they
come from outbreak-free commercial farms where the poultry
received two vaccine injections, or from outbreak-free farms
where the poultry were not vaccinated, but that have tested
negative for the H5N1 virus. Eggs from these poultry farms
can be sold after a quarantine period. While this
government action may be a positive development for poultry
farm owners, it remains to be seen whether it will translate
into consumer confidence.

6. (SBU) Post's Marine Attache (MARA) observed four
disinfection checkpoints while traveling in Bac Giang, Bac
Kan, Cao Bang and Lang Son provinces in northern Vietnam
December 20-22. Checkpoint personnel including border
guards, army soldiers, Ministry of Public Security police,
forestry officials and civilians, stopped vehicles (though
not motorbikes) and sprayed their tires. The MARA was told
that the spray was liquid disinfectant used in an effort to
prevent transmission of the virus between regions.
Discipline appeared to be lax and coverage inconsistent at
two checkpoints, as no effort was made to stop the MARA's
vehicle at one checkpoint, and no staff was visible at
another. However, at two other checkpoints staff appeared
to take the matter seriously and their actions were prompt
and efficient.

7. (U) Denmark donated USD 600,000 worth of veterinary
equipment to MARD, including automatic sprayers, protective
clothing, rubber boots and gloves, as well as 20,000 liters
of disinfectant in order to aid Vietnam in the fight against
AI. Denmark donated an additional USD 400,000 to assist
with an AI public information campaign. Germany donated USD
5.3 million to aid Vietnam in its effort to combat AI.

8. (U) At a December 24 session of the Working Group on AI
in Ho Chi Minh City, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai cautioned
that although preventive measures have had some success, the
risk of AI outbreaks remains high. He stressed that the
poultry vaccination program must continue, and a long-term
plan for the livestock industry, with a focus on commercial
farms and slaughterhouses needs to be developed. He also
advised that the Ministry of Trade has been instructed to
distribute certified poultry and poultry products in the
upcoming Tet period, when demand increases. The Ministry of
Health has instructed strict monitoring of foreigners
entering Vietnam from countries known to have been affected
by AI, and has identified cooperation between the Vietnamese
local border authorities and their counterparts as a
critical measure.

9. (U) A number of newspapers reported on a study published
in the New England Journal of Medicine on the resistance of
Vietnamese patients to Tamiflu. The study, conducted on
eight patients, showed that two who died had developed signs
of resistance to Tamiflu, and suggests that the use of
higher doses and longer treatment may be necessary for some
patients. The small study sample should be taken into
consideration when assessing the effectiveness of Tamiflu,
however, medical experts, including one of the study's co-
authors, continue to consider Tamiflu to be an important
defense against the H5N1 virus.

MARINE

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