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5 000 days of combatting Avian Influenza in Viet Nam


FAO Viet Nam’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) marks 5 000 days of combatting Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) with the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) since H5N1 HPAI was first reported in Asia in 2003 (See also picture below, showing the epidemic curve of HPAI cases in Vietnam since 2004) . The HPAI H5N1 outbreak have caused 125 human cases and brought economic loss of up to 1.8% of the national GDP, bringing a huge public health and economic threat to the country at its worst times. FAO interventions focused on enhancing prevention and control strategies at a provincial, regional and national level to minimize the impacts and prevent possible outbreaks.

In order to tackle the spread of HPAI in different levels, FAO has been supporting MARD with the improvement of surveillance, biosecurity and response, laboratory and epidemiology capacity building over the past decade. Along with the regular HPAI control and prevention programs, FAO is assisting in monitoring the early detection of potential H7N9 incursions in domestic poultry in high risk areas. Currently, H7N9 is only found in China. Combined surveillance of both H5N1 and H7N9 will improve the knowledge of the gene pool of influenza A in poultry and enhance the understanding of the epidemiology of HPAI H5 viruses.

To contribute to the avian influenza monitoring at a global level, the Department of Animal Health (DAH), MARD has also been providing information of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) disease events to the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) since 2004. EMPRES is a global system designed by FAO to support veterinary services by facilitating regional and global disease information as timely and reliable disease information enhances early warning and response and supports the progressive control and elimination to transboundary animal diseases.

According to the epidemiological curve, it shows the progression of HPAI disease in the outbreak over time. The x-axis shows the number of days since the disease emerged in Viet Nam and the y-axis shows the number of HPAI disease events in poultry by month. Due to 5000 days of close collaboration between stakeholders, the disease incidence has significantly been reduced over the years.

FAO is now continuing to work together with DAH to minimize the impact of the disease on public health and food security and ultimately establish a sustainable disease prevention system within the country and the region. It is essential to continue efforts of HPAI control, in particular in South East Asia where the disease is considered persistent and endemic, posing a threat to agriculture and public health.” said Pawin Padungtod, the Senior Technical Coordinator of FAO ECTAD Viet Nam.