Vietnam on Alert for H7N9 Virus

Authorities worry the H7N9 virus, also known as Avian Flu, a disease transmitted from poultry, is spreading fast across the China border.

Live poutrly is displayed in underground trade markets in the country (Photo : SGGP)

Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of Preventative Health Department  said that there have been a reported 168 cases with 51 deaths in China, according to Chinese officials.

Phu warns of a high risk for infections due to underground poultry trade in Vietnamese markets in Hanoi, Cau Giay, Hang Be, Lang Ha and Thanh Cong.

Infected patients experience severe pneumonia, fever, cough, breathing failure, organ failure and even death, said Head of National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Nguyen Tran Hien.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment for the disease.

Tests show H7N9 is prevalent in poultry in 80 percent of communes, 66 percent of districts and 63 percent of markets around the country, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. In 44 provinces, 90 out of 147 markets tested positive for the virus in poultry.

The Ministry of Health currently asks people to refrain from eating poultry products of questionable origin and to practice strict hygiene. 

Anyone experiencing high fever, cough, headache and breathing failure should go to nearby medical clinics for timely treatment.  Please inform local administrators if disease is detected in poultry.

Smuggling poultry across the Vietnamese-Chinese border is a rising trend, said Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Cao Duc Phat.  He urges to tighten security over poultry smuggling along the northern border. 

About 55 tons of live poultry and 300 tons of dead poultry were illegally traded across the border in 2013, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long asked hospitals across the country to supervise patients who suffer breathing problems and do tests to reduce spread of the disease.

By Minh Khang - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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