US embassy cable - 04HANOI252

VIETNAM - AVIAN FLU UPDATE #4

Identifier: 04HANOI252
Wikileaks: View 04HANOI252 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2004-01-30 10:12:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: AMED AMGT CASC EAGR TBIO VM AFLU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
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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