13 Apr 2013 -- The Emergency Centre of Transboundary Disease Control (ECTAD) FAO was asked to contribute to the Ministerial level workshop “Implementing Guidelines of the Viet Nam Prime Minister on A influenza (H7N9) Control and Prevention” which was co-chaired by Minister of Health Ministry (MOH) and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry (MARD) in Ha Noi. Dr. Scott Newman, Senior Technical Coordinator at FAO Viet Nam was asked to provide information about H7N9 and emphasized the challenge before the government to prepare for, detect and respond to a novel virus H7N9 that poses risks to people, livelihoods, food security, economies, and biodiversity.
With sound experience gained from the H5N1 HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) fight, FAO has affirmed its commitment to work closely with MARD and MOH to be prepared and respond to this newly emerging threat. This includes heightened control at the borders to prevent poultry and viruses from entering; analyses of samples being collected in routine surveillance programs for H7N9, and development of a heightened animal surveillance strategy at the border.
Addressing workshop participants, Dr. Newman advised that FAO is currently not recommending vaccination of animal species because more information is needed to determine the efficacy of vaccines against this novel virus. Instead FAO recommended strengthened bio-security at family farms and households, commercial operators and marketplaces to assist in reducing the risk of virus introduction. FAO recommended keeping all birds and livestock separate from people and living areas, as well as following good bio-security and farm hygiene practices throughout the poultry and other animal market chains.
Dr. Newman stressed that active surveillance and transparent reporting of slightly sick or dead birds to local veterinary authorities for sampling is of utmost importance to increase the likelihood of detecting the presence of H7N9 in Vietnam.
“FAO would like to remind everyone to pay close attention to the events of H7N9 but not forget the on-going circulation of H5N1 that recently took the life of a 4 year old Vietnamese boy in Dong Thap Province. Success in addressing H5N1 and the emerging H7N9 will require high level government commitment, financial and human resources, and close multi-sectoral collaboration in the spirit of One Health.” Dr. Newman said.