US embassy cable - 04HANOI392

VIETNAM - AVIAN FLU (AI) UPDATE #12

Identifier: 04HANOI392
Wikileaks: View 04HANOI392 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Hanoi
Created: 2004-02-12 10:27:00
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.

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