southern localities on alert as fresh avian influenza outbreak recorded near border picture 1
Influenza A/H5N1 is spread through respiratory droplets, contact with contaminated objects, and use of sick or dead poultry infected with the lethal strain A/H5N1. (Illustrative image) 

One of the two cases, an 11-year-old girl, died of the lethal strain, according to the World Health Organisation that is closely monitoring the outbreak in the Cambodian locality.

As the virus was detected in Prey Veng province that borders Vietnam, the Pasteur Institute in its telegram requested that the health departments of 20 southern provinces and cities direct their agencies to closely monitor and detect severe pneumonia cases caused by the H5N1 virus strain, type A, at all medical facilities in their localities.

It asked them to pay special attention to those going to/from the epidemic area, timely take samples and send them to the Pasteur Institute for testing.

International health quarantine units must coordinate with the plant and animal quarantine units to monitor poultry and aquatic products entering Vietnam through border gates and open crossings, said the Pasteur Institute in its telegram. 

The Centre for Disease Control of the provinces and cities were asked to coordinate with provincial departments of animal husbandry and veterinary to early detect any possible avian influenza outbreaks in the community and promptly handle them according to regulations.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the municipal Department of Health requested the Ho Chi Minh City Centre for Disease Control to closely monitor people going to/from avian influenza hit areas and coordinate with animal quarantine stations in monitoring poultry and waterfowl entering Vietnam through border gates.

The Department also requested relevant agencies to enhance communication about measures to detect and prevent avian flu at border gates and in the community.

Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases was required to ensure personnel, equipment, medical supplies, and medicines to receive, isolate and treat suspected or confirmed cases of influenza A (H5N1) in accordance with regulations.

On hearing about the two avian influenza cases in Cambodia, the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has contacted the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to get information about the situation in Cambodia, but has not received any response.

The MARD has also sent a telegram to localities, especially those in the south, requesting that they strictly control the transportation and trade of live poultry and poultry products.

In particular, in the southern provinces, it is necessary to control and prevent poultry smuggling across the border from Cambodia to Vietnam to prevent influenza A/H5N1 virus from entering the country, said the ministry in its telegram.

Every year, Vietnam still records a number of scattered outbreaks of avian influenza caused by the A/H5N1 virus. Currently, there are only two outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry flocks in Nghe An and Cao Bang provinces that both occurred in less than 21 days. About 5,000 birds in the outbreak hit localities have been culled by veterinarians, and there have been no signs of the virus transmission in the community.

In addition, the Department of Animal Health annually deploys a bird flu monitoring and sampling programme at markets, breeding farms, and poultry slaughterhouses to promptly nip in the bud any possible outbreaks.

Source: VOV