Risk of a Bird Flu Outbreak Remains on High Alert

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is temporarily under control in Viet Nam, however the risk of a bird flu outbreak is still on high alert.  This was announced by the Director of the Preventive Health Department, Nguyen Huy Nga at a conference yesterday in Ha Noi. 

The focus of this conference was the modification and supplementation of plans made to protect humans from avian influenza. Those in attendance included the Ministry of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The development of avian flu in humans is occuring in a complex manner. Transmitted from infected poultry to humans, the disease, known as the H5N1 virus, is able to mutate or change.  These mutations may affect its ability to spread by human-to-human transmission, Director Nga added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also warned that a great influenza pandemic of type A H5N1 could kill from one to more than 40 million people worldwide.

According to the Ministry of Health, relevant departments, organizations and individuals have to join nation-wide campaigns to curb the spread of bird flu.  To halt the spread of bird flu to humans, the Government needs to put in place the structural framework and provide education about bird flu transmission and prevention to all farms and households.

The ministry will also establish 15 influenza management offices in the North and South.  These offices will collect and study samples for monitoring purposes, as well as provide guidance and quarantine control to bird flu affected areas.

The country has controlled the type A H5N1 influenza pandemic in humans for 17 months. Since May 10th 2007,  there have been 7 reported cases of Type A H5N1 in five northern provinces, among them 4 have been fatal. 

By N.Khanh – Translated by Kim Khanh

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