US embassy cable - 04HANOI333

VIETNAM - AVIAN FLU (AI) UPDATE #9

Identifier: 04HANOI333
Wikileaks: View 04HANOI333 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2004-02-06 10:34:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
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.

061034Z Feb 04
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000333 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR CA/OCS/ACS/EAP; EAP/EX; EAP/BCLTV 
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, AID (TDOLAN) 
STATE PASS HHS for Marie Haring Sweeney 
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 #9 
 
REFS: A) Hanoi 302   B) Hanoi 321 
 
-------------- 
CURRENT STATUS 
-------------- 
 
1.  (U) LOCAL MEDIA REPORTS INDICATE 15 CASES OF LABORATORY- 
CONFIRMED H5 INFLUENZA IN HUMANS.  WE HAVE NOT YET BEEN ABLE 
TO CONFIRM THIS FIGURE WITH THE WHO INVESTIGATIVE TEAM. 
 
---------------------------- 
GVN BRIEFING FOR AMBASSADORS 
---------------------------- 
 
2.  (U) A GVN briefing for Ambassadors on 5 February laid 
out GVN efforts to address avian flu.  They described the 
creation of the National Steering Committee, and delegation 
of oversight for control in provinces to cabinet members as 
reported ref B.  The Prime Minister has declared that 
Vietnam will have avian influenza (AI) under control "by the 
end of February."  Provinces have been instructed to take 
all necessary measures, and all Ministries have been 
instructed to make AI their most urgent and central task. 
The GVN reported that 10.7 million birds have been infected, 
and 14.2 million birds have been destroyed.  When infected 
birds are discovered, the GVN orders the culling of all 
birds in a three-kilometer radius.  This is to take place 
within two days in a rural setting or within seven days in 
an urban setting.  All cullers must wear Personal Protective 
Equipment.  Ministerial forces will halt the transportation 
of poultry - this includes the Ministry of Public Security 
(which includes the police), the Ministry of Health, and 
"market forces". 
 
3.  (U) The GVN further thanked all present for the support 
and assistance received already, highlighting WHO, FAO, OIE, 
CDC, JICA, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank.  They 
noted that they look forward to further assistance now 
(highlighting as needs: diagnostic equipment for the 
Department of Animal Health, experts to train Vietnamese 
veterinarians, PPE, and medication for human cases) and in 
the future (to help restore the poultry industry.)  The GVN 
particularly noted that they will seek international 
cooperation to improve the agricultural sector and change 
current practices to more sustainable practices. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
WHO BRIEFING FOR HCMC DIPLOMATIC CORPS 
--------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (U) WHO provided a briefing to the diplomatic corps in 
HCMC similar to the meeting in Hanoi, reported ref A.  New 
information of note included comments on vaccinating 
poultry.  WHO indicated that while the vaccine for birds 
might prevent birds from getting sick, it would not prevent 
them from carrying or transmitting the disease.  WHO also 
noted that the GVN sees the outbreak as an agricultural 
disaster and tourist problem, not as a public health threat. 
 
---------------------- 
IMPACT ON US COMPANIES 
---------------------- 
 
 
5.  (U) KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN RESTAURANTS ARE SUFFERING 
UNDER THE BAN ON THE SALE OF CHICKEN AND CHICKEN PRODUCTS. 
THEY HAVE BEEN EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF IMPORTING 
FROZEN, PREPARED CHICKEN FROM THE US.  UNFORTUNATELY, WE 
HAVE BEEN GIVEN CONFLICTING RESPONSES.  INITIALLY, OUR 
AGRICULTURAL ATTACHE (FAS) WAS TOLD THAT NO IMPORTS OF 
CHICKEN PRODUCTS WOULD BE ALLOWED BECAUSE OF A VERY MINOR, 
VERY LOW-PATHENOGENIC (CONTAGION) STRAIN OF AI THAT IS 
PRESENT IN THE US.  WHEN FAS TRIED TO PUSH THE ISSUE, HE WAS 
TOLD THAT NO CHICKEN OR CHICKEN PRODUCT IMPORTS WOULD BE 
ALLOWED AT ALL - FROM ANY COUNTRY.  IN THE GVN BRIEFING FOR 
AMBASSADORS, AMBASSADOR BURGHARDT ASKED WHETHER IMPORTS WERE 
ALLOWED, AND WAS TOLD THAT IMPORTS FROM AFFECTED COUNTRIES 
ONLY ARE BANNED.  CHICKEN AND CHICKEN PRODUCTS CAN CONTINUE 
TO BE IMPORTED TO VIETNAM FROM NON-AFFECTED COUNTRIES.  FAS 
WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE ISSUE. 
 
6.  (U) HCMC ECON OFFICER SPOKE WITH CARGILL'S COUNTRY 
REPRESENTATIVE, CHANH TRUONG.  TRUONG STATED THAT HE EXPECTS 
THE COMPANY TO LOSE SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND TO ONE MILLION 
DOLLARS IN VIETNAM DUE TO AI.  ANTICIPATED LOSSES WILL BE 
DUE TO THE EXPECTED CULLING IN THE DONG NAI HATCHERY, AND 
RESTOCKING OF EGGS, BIRDS, UNUSED MATERIALS, AND VACCINES. 
THE CARGILL HATCHERY IN DONG NAI HAS NOT BEEN CULLED, AND 
LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE YET TO ASK THEM TO DO SO.  TRUONG 
REPORTED THAT, IN ADDITION TO THE BAN ON SALES OF CHICKEN 
AND CHICKEN PRODUCTS, THE GVN IS NOT ALLOWING THEM TO SELL 
BIRD FEED.  THIS COULD RESULT IN REDUCED PRODUCTION BY THREE 
TO FOUR THOUSAND TONS PER MONTH, AT APPROXIMATELY $50 PER 
TON.  HE DID NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT THEIR SALES OF FISH FEEDS 
HAVE INCREASED IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT.  CARGILL HAS 
CONSIDERED VACCINATING THEIR POULTRY, BUT THE GVN IS NOT 
ALLOWING THEM TO DO SO, AS PER PREVIOUS WHO ADVICE. 
 
7.  (U)  FAS NOTES THAT THE MAJORITY OF CARGILL SALES IN 
VIETNAM ARE IN PIG AND FISH FEED AND BELIEVES THAT THE GVN 
BAN ON SALE OF CHICKEN FEED IS AN ATTEMPT TO LIMIT MOVEMENT 
OF TRUCKS FROM FARM TO FARM AND DISCOURAGE THE RAISING OF 
CHICKENS.  THE UNINTENDED EFFECTS MAY BE THAT FARMERS 
PRODUCE LOW-QUALITY HOMEMADE FEED OR SLAUGHTER HEALTHY 
CHICKENS. 
BURGHARDT 

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