Monday, March 20, 2023

Vietnam MOH Statement On Preventing Avian Influenza


In 2004 and 2005, Vietnam was the world's epicenter for human infections with HPAI H5N1, recording 90 cases and 39 deaths (CFR 43.33%) in less than 2 years.  By 2006, Vietnam had brought the virus largely under control, although another 38 human infections would be reported between 2007 and 2022. 

Last year's case was their first since 2014. It isn't known whether it belonged to the same sublineage (clade as recent cases in China, the Americas, and Europe or to the clade ( recently reported in two cases in neighboring Cambodia

Either way, Vietnam is taking the threat seriously, and is working to bolster their border screenings, and increase surveillance within their borders.  Today their MOH published the following (translated) statement from their editorial board. 
Strengthening the prevention and control of avian influenza to humans


According to the World Health Organization, the world has so far recorded 873 cases of influenza A (H5N1) infection, of which 458 deaths. According to a notice from the Cambodian Ministry of Health, from February 22, 2023, Cambodia recorded 02 cases of influenza A(H5N1) infection in Prey Veng province, of which 01 case died. This is the latest case of influenza A(H5N1) in Cambodia since 2014. In the context of expanding trade exchanges between Vietnam and other countries around the world, the risk of avian influenza may enter the country. spread to humans is very large, especially in provinces bordering with epidemic countries.

In Vietnam, the weather is currently in a period of changing seasons and abnormal changes favorable for the development of avian influenza viruses, and festivals after the Lunar New Year continue to be held. Poultry transport and trade may increase. Therefore, there is always a potential risk of transmission of avian influenza to humans. Previously, at the end of 2022, Vietnam also recorded the first human case of influenza A(H5N1) infection (in Phu Tho province) since 2014 until now.

To proactively prevent avian influenza from entering Vietnam and infecting humans, on February 27, 2023, the Ministry of Health issued Official Dispatch No. 258/CD-BYT to the Chairman of the People's Committees of the provinces. , the city proposes to pay attention to directing units in the area to urgently implement a number of key contents as follows:
- Strengthening close monitoring of people on entry to detect suspected/infected cases early, especially people who slaughter, trade in poultry, live poultry products, and people with a history of coming from epidemic-affected areas. (including epidemics in poultry and humans), promptly take samples for testing and send them to the Institutes of Hygiene and Epidemiology/Pasteur for diagnostic testing; case management (if any) and handling to prevent the disease from spreading to the community.
- Strengthen surveillance of acute respiratory infections, severe viral pneumonia and influenza syndrome to promptly detect cases of influenza A(H5N1); hospitals are ready to collect, isolate and treat according to regulations of the Ministry of Health and promptly notify the Center for Disease Control to take timely measures to prevent and control the epidemic; ready drugs, supplies, chemicals and means of timely support for localities to implement measures to handle the outbreak.
- Strengthen inter-sectoral coordination between health agencies, veterinary authorities and relevant departments and agencies in monitoring and detecting avian influenza, especially at border gates and live poultry markets, promptly sharing information information on the epidemic situation in poultry and coordinate in the investigation and handling of the outbreak.
- Increase communication on measures to prevent transmission of avian influenza to humans, with special attention to high-risk areas and poultry farmers, traders and slaughterers about the risk of disease, preventive measures measures to prevent and strongly encourage people not to use food of unknown origin; implement food safety in slaughtering and processing poultry and poultry products, do not eat blood pudding and do not use sick or dead poultry of unknown cause.
- To coordinate in the prevention and control of diseases transmitted from animals to humans in accordance with the provisions of Joint Circular No. 16/2013/TTLT-BYT-BNN&PTNN dated May 27, 2013 of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health. Agriculture and Rural Development; Report on infectious diseases according to the Circular No. 54/2015/TT-BYT dated December 28, 2015 of the Minister of Health on the Department of Preventive Medicine.
Editorial board of the website of the Department of Preventive Medicine

Through aggressive culling, poultry vaccination, surveillance, and public education, Vietnam went from being the worst afflicted country in the world to being viewed as the `poster child’ for successful bird flu containment. 

Hopefully, by preemptively implementing those same tactics today, they can avoid a repeat crisis.