Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) - Viet Nam

Surveillance and Diagnostics

©FAO/C Y Gopinath

FAO ECTAD Viet Nam supports MARD’s Department of Animal Health in implementing surveillance for key animal-based communicable diseases including HPAI H5N1, rabies, foot and mouth disease (FMD), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), classical swine fever (CSF), and other influenza A viruses including H7N9 and H5N6.

Surveillance and monitoring are key to early detection, rapid response, prevention and control of all zoonotic diseases. Increasing the sensitivity of targeted surveillance program also allows for rapid detection of newly introduced viruses and gives veterinary authorities the opportunity to take proactive risk management measures to prevent further spread and impacts of diseases. FAO ECTAD has supported a series of targeted surveillance in programs based on priority objectives as determined by the Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In light of the important role that live bird markets play as locations where viruses can accumulate, spread amongst poultry and transmit to people, FAO has supported a significant live bird market surveillance program targeting 147 LBMs (19 large scale LBMs and 128 small scale LBMs) located in 44 provinces from October 2012 - September 2013. For more information, please see Live Bird market monitoring.

It has been recognized that unofficial movement of poultry across the northern border into Viet Nam plays an important role in potential transmission of new viruses into the country.  As a result, and in light of the known demand for Chinese spent hens to prepare local Vietnamese soup Pho, a spent hen surveillance program was established in which samples were collected from two Northern provinces (Quang Ninh and Lang Son) and Ha Vy whole sale live poultry market in Hanoi from June 2012 – March 2013. For more information, please see Spent Hen monitoring.

The national passive surveillance program has been in place for many years and has been instrumental in identifying new outbreaks and management actions, especially during the early years (2012-2013) in which HPAI H5N1 spread through Viet Nam. This system relies on farmers and animal health professionals reporting sick and dead poultry. FAO and DAH supported passive surveillance in 2012 and the 2013 in central and southern Viet Nam. From this passive surveillance, it was determined that there are significant differences in the percentage of suspected outbreaks that are investigated and reported at a regional level.  Multiple variables such as local funding available for outbreak investigation, political commitment, and reimbursement policy for farmers likely influence the observed differences in reporting. For more information, please see national passive surveillance.

As northern Viet Nam shares a long border with China marked by heavy traffic of people and animals, including large numbers of poultry, and in light of the detection of H7N9 virus which had no clinical impact on poultry but resulted in significant numbers of human deaths in China starting in 2013, FAO and DAH implemented a targeted H7N9 surveillance program to detect potential incursion of H7N9 virus into Viet Nam.  Surveillance was conducted in 60 markets in nine northern Provinces between June 2013 - September 2015. Of the almost 160,000 samples tested, while about 22% of samples were influenza A positive, none were positive for H7N9 however it is important to remain vigilant against potential cross—border virus introductions and this is an important consideration for future surveillance programs being implemented in Viet Nam. For more information, please see H7N9  surveillance.