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Increased preparedness for potential H7N9 incursion and spread in Viet Nam


Due to the increasing number of animal and human cases of influenza A(H7N9) outbreak in China, preparation is crucial in preventing the intrusion of the virus in the country and minimizing its impacts if it happens.  

With partial funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO) Viet Nam, in collaboration with Department of Animal Health (DAH), General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM) and Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee, co-organized a simulation exercise on H7N9 emergency response in Mong Cai city, Quang Ninh Province. 

The one-day exercise combined a meeting among steering committee members for avian influenza prevention and control and simulation exercises where participants were given with field scenarios such as detection of H7N9-infected poultry sold in a local market, a suspected H7N9 human case within a household setting as well as in a hospital. These exercises aimed to validate the existing procedures which guide participants on the detection, prevention, risk mitigation, response related to influenza A (H7N9).

A total of 120 participants of the joint provincial response team from animal and public health sectors, public securities, border guard forces and market management agencies participated in the exercise who are key responders to influenza A (H7N9) detection in Mong Cai city, Quang Ninh province. This province is considered as one of the higher risk areas in Viet Nam as it shares border with Guangxi Province in China where H7N9 human infection has increased since October 2016. The cross-border trading and tourism between Viet Nam and China in the area is one of the busiest in the country. 

The event also served as a review of the ‘Viet Nam Emergency response to dangerous avian influenza viruses with potential infection on human contingency plan’ which was issued in early 2014 by the National Steering Committee for Avian Influenza. 

“The simulation exercise aims not only to reinforce correct implementation of outbreak response procedures, but also to strengthen effective inter-sectoral coordination and timely communicate with the public. The exercise today will certainly keep Viet Nam safer against H7N9, to safeguard livelihoods of farmers and poultry traders and ultimately protect the health of Vietnamese people,” Mr Jong-ha Bae, the Representative of FAO Viet Nam stated in the event.

This exercise is one of the emergency preparedness and response efforts in prevention and control of H7N9 and other zoonotic influenza virus with potential pandemic threats implemented by the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), UN-FAO Viet Nam and the Department of Animal Health, MARD.