US embassy cable - 06BAGHDAD343

EMBASSY BAGHDAD AVIAN INFLUENZA TRIPWIRES AND RESPONSE PLAN

Identifier: 06BAGHDAD343
Wikileaks: View 06BAGHDAD343 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2006-02-06 13:36:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: AMED AMGT CASC ASEC EAGR EAID TBIO KFLU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO7045
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHMOS
DE RUEHGB #0343/01 0371336
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061336Z FEB 06
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2505
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMFIUU/39ABG INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/39CES INCIRLIK AB TU
RHMFIUU/BDP INCIRLIK AB TU
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0130
RUEHSTA/USOFFICE ASTANA
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 BAGHDAD 000343 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR CA/OCS/ACS/NEA; NEA/SA/EX; NEA/I; OES/STC 
(MGOLDBERG); OES/IHA (DSINGER and NCOMELLA) 
DEPT PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH 
STATE PASS TO HHS 
USDA FOR FAS/PASS TO APHIS 
CAIRO PASS NAVY MEDICAL RESEARCH UNIT 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: AMED, AMGT, CASC, ASEC, EAGR, EAID, TBIO, KFLU, 
KPAO, IZ 
SUBJECT: EMBASSY BAGHDAD AVIAN INFLUENZA TRIPWIRES AND 
RESPONSE PLAN 
 
REF A. 05 STATE 202102 
B. 05 STATE 219189 
C. STATE 1175 
 
1. The Embassy Baghdad Avian Influenza (AI) Working 
Group (AIWG, which included MED, ECON, Health Attache, 
IRMO, USAID, USDA/FAS, MGT, PAO, and MNF-I), met on 
January 18, 2006 to discuss Embassy tripwires and 
possible responses.  Based on this meeting, the 
Embassy Health Unit drafted AI Tripwires and an 
Embassy response plan.  References for these tripwires 
included tripwire reports prepared by other U.S. 
Missions in the region, an MNC-I draft AI response 
plan, and the DOS/MED 
http://med.state.gov/influ_plan.htm. 
 
The AIWG agreed that the location of a tripwire event 
- in a neighboring country, or near or within the city 
where an Embassy mission is located - is an important 
factor to consider. 
 
All tripwire responses have been formulated by the 
Health Unit under the assumption that an effective 
human vaccine will not be available, that evacuation 
may not be possible, and that Level III care may be 
inadequate in spite of MNF-I support. Personnel 
movement will be coordinated between MNF-I and JASG 
(who works jointly with the MNF-I and the Mission) 
 
Any of the tripwires could occur independently of 
another.  It is also possible that two or more 
tripwires could occur sequentially or simultaneously. 
 
------------ 
TRIPWIRE ONE 
------------ 
 
2. TRIPWIRE ONE: A spike in the number and/or 
broadening geographic spread of animal-to-human cases 
or sustained human-to-human transmission through 
close, prolonged contact in a neighboring country: 
Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Syria. 
 
Embassy Actions in response to Tripwire One: 
 
-- The AIWG meets to confirm that the tripwire has 
been met, assess the risk to the Mission in Iraq, 
review the tripwire responses and make recommendations 
to the Emergency Action Committee (EAC). 
 
-- The EAC considers restricting civilian travel to 
the affected country or affected areas within the 
country, except for CDC or other personnel involved in 
possible investigation/containment efforts. 
 
-- Mission Iraq coordinates with the U.S. Mission in 
the affected country regarding its plans for public 
announcements, warden messages, or plans for 
evacuating personnel. 
 
-- Mission Iraq Health Unit provides briefings for 
staff (Americans and FSNs) and prepares written 
notices, as appropriate. 
 
-- Mission Iraq Consular Section ensures that any 
public announcements or travel warnings issued by 
neighboring posts are transmitted to American citizens 
(AMCITS) and publishes the updates on the Consular 
 
BAGHDAD 00000343  002 OF 005 
 
 
Section's web site. 
 
------------ 
TRIPWIRE TWO 
------------ 
 
3. TRIPWIRE TWO: A spike in the number and/or 
broadening geographic spread of animal-to-human cases 
or sustained human-to-human transmission through 
close, prolonged contact in Iraq. 
 
Embassy Actions in response to Tripwire Two: 
 
-- The AIWG meets to confirm that tripwire has been 
met, assess the risk to the Mission in Iraq, review 
the tripwire responses and make recommendations to the 
EAC. 
 
-- The EAC meets regularly and coordinates closely 
with REOs to determine next steps as tripwire 
circumstances develop. 
 
-- The EAC considers restricting travel by civilians 
to Iraq or affected areas, except for CDC or other 
personnel involved in possible investigation/ 
containment efforts. 
 
-- The Mission Health Unit pushes additional Tamiflu 
to the affected REO or PRT areas. 
 
-- The Mission coordinates with MNF-I regarding their 
levels of support in the affected area. 
 
-- In coordination with the Department, the Consular 
Section issues public announcements, Warden Messages, 
or a travel advisory, and updates the Consular 
website. 
 
-- The Mission's Public Affairs Section provides press 
guidance for the potential use of the Mission, REOs, 
the Department, and concerned government agencies and 
coordinates public affairs and media activities with 
DOD. 
 
-- The Mission Health Unit provides briefings and 
written guidance for staff. 
 
-- The EAC recommends that the Mission maintain full 
service operations in some areas and consider 
authorized departure in posts that are near the 
reported areas, as appropriate. 
 
-- The Mission Health Unit implements home quarantine 
of any staff member who has been in close contact with 
a person confirmed to have an AI infection for a 
period of 10 days after exposure. 
 
-------------- 
Tripwire Three 
-------------- 
 
4. TRIPWIRE THREE: Efficient and sustained human-to- 
human transmission in a neighboring country. 
 
Embassy Actions in response to Tripwire Three: 
 
-- Those responses mentioned in Tripwire Two as well 
as the following: 
 
BAGHDAD 00000343  003 OF 005 
 
 
 
-- Embassy staffs and equips a situation room and a 
call center for inquiries from American public and the 
press using cleared material to respond to press 
inquiries. 
 
-- The Mission maintains normal Consulate and Embassy 
operations, but continues close monitoring of the 
situation. 
 
-- The Health Unit identifies and trains personnel to 
prepare for possible screening of Post visitors for 
flu-like symptoms. 
 
------------- 
Tripwire Four 
------------- 
 
5. TRIPWIRE FOUR: Efficient and sustained human-to- 
human transmission in Iraq. 
 
Embassy Actions in response to Tripwire Four: 
 
-- In addition to tripwire two and three responses: 
 
-- The EAC examines the feasibility of Mission 
personnel working from remote locations, as well as a 
reduction of Embassy services and operations. 
 
-- The EAC considers having employees remain in their 
quarters or implements authorized or ordered departure 
for all but those American and FSN staff designated 
essential. 
 
-- The EAC considers restricting movement of Mission 
personnel to mission-critical activities only. 
 
-- The Mission provides meals, MREs, and water at 
trailers. 
 
-- The RSO splits the Marine Security Guard Detachment 
into two separate and independent units.  (In the 
event individuals in one unit acquire the disease, the 
other unit can still ensure proper coverage of 
classified materials.) 
 
-- The Mission restricts visitors' access to Mission 
buildings.  If entry is necessary to conduct business, 
visitors must be screened for Avian Flu symptoms 
including the taking of temperature, and completion of 
a questionnaire- by personnel designated and trained 
during Tripwire number three. 
 
-- The Health Unit maintains and updates its database 
of Embassy American employees hospitalized, 
quarantined, or ill at home. 
 
-- The HU staff reviews with MNF-I the availability of 
medical/hospital facilities and support available 
should the Mission become affected. 
 
-- The EAC considers a recommendation to the COM to 
request NEO operations from MNF-I. In order to 
consider an evacuation, assuming transportation is 
available, the destination country must be willing to 
accept the persons and have no pandemic of its own. 
 
-- In coordination with MNF-I, the EAC considers 
 
BAGHDAD 00000343  004 OF 005 
 
 
closure of all or some of the REOs with special 
consideration of those closest to the involved areas 
of reported cases. 
 
-- The Mission coordinates with ISU Amman the 
preparation of all required travel documents in 
anticipation of an authorized departure. 
 
-- The Health Unit considers administering Tamiflu to 
staff that is likely to come in direct contact with 
potentially infected persons and those who have had 
close contact with those potentially infected persons. 
 
------------- 
Tripwire Five 
------------- 
 
6. TRIPWIRE FIVE: Human AI infection-affected patients 
in the Mission. 
 
Embassy Actions in response to Tripwire Five: 
 
-- HU personnel will take immediate action to provide 
appropriate care and isolation to the affected 
patient(s). 
 
-- The senior HU staff member evaluates if the case 
definition of AI illness has been met and discusses 
the case(s) with the AIWG to confirm that the tripwire 
has been met. 
 
-- Management will coordinate meetings with the EAC 
and MNF-I and the Operations Center for Crisis 
Management. 
 
-- The RMO or senior DOS HU provider will inform MED 
in Washington and provide input as requested. 
 
-- The EAC determines avenues of communication, 
including MNF-I, which will play a key role in patient 
care and disposition, and confers with the appropriate 
agencies.  The following will be options: 
 
A) Closure of Embassy with Shelter-in-Place. 
B) Operation of the remaining posts in Iraq. 
C) Evacuation of non-affected members after a 5-10 day 
observation in an isolated setting period if 
logistically possible and medically indicated. 
 
--------------------------------------- 
IMMEDIATE ACTIONS AND ACTIONS COMPLETED 
--------------------------------------- 
 
7.  During the AIWG meeting, it was apparent that 
certain actions need to take place now, before any 
tripwires are established.  This report lists (A) 
actions that require immediate attention and (B) 
actions completed. 
 
(A) Actions to be taken immediately: 
 
-- AIWG and EAC review Tripwire plan with: 
 
(i) USAID representatives: Due to USAID's presence in 
northern Iraq, it may have early opportunity for 
detection of changing AI Activity. 
(ii) RSO, CA, and GSO to assure that the specific 
issues are incorporated in the Tripwire responses. 
 
BAGHDAD 00000343  005 OF 005 
 
 
 
-- The Health Unit develops a skills bank. 
 
--Mission prepares a draw-down list and a list of 
minimum essential personnel. 
 
-- Regional Embassy Offices(REOs):  Coordinators 
integrate the specific needs of the REOs. 
 
-- The Consular Section posts an AI advisory and 
Wardens message on the Baghdad Website 
 
-- The Health Unit receives the DOS-promised Tamiflu, 
Oseltamivir to increase coverage for Mission personnel 
to 40 percent. 
 
(B) Actions already taken by the Mission Health Unit: 
 
-- Updated Administrative Memo to Mission personnel. 
 
-- Inventoried and secured 9500 Tamiflu doses at the 
HU and 100 doses at each of the REOs. 
 
-- Procured 500 N95 masks. 
 
-- Fit-tested all HU personnel for the N95 masks. 
 
-- Provided in-service training to HU regarding the 
management of suspected AI cases. 
 
-- Posted trilingual hand washing and cough etiquette 
posters (English, Spanish, Arabic). 
 
-- Briefed the medical staff at the 10th CSH on 
January 27, 2006. 
 
-- Gave a presentation at the IZ town hall meeting 
held January 28, 2006. 
 
8.  We look forward to the Department's comments on 
Mission Baghdad's strategy for responding to a 
possible outbreak of Avian Flu.  Best regards. 
 
KHALILZAD 

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