February 14, 2014
As the H7N9 bird flu in China has spread to areas bordering
Vietnam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has ordered
the halting of poultry imports via the northern border under any form.
The ban was announced by Minister Cao Duc Phat at an urgent meeting
held by his ministry on Thursday with other concerned agencies,
including Ministries of Public Security, and Industry and Trade, and the
Border Guard High Command, to discuss measures to prevent the spread of
the H7N9 flu as well as those to be applied in case the epidemic
affects the country.
At the meeting, Pham Van Dong, head of the ministry’s Veterinary
Department warned that the H7N9 epidemic in China has spread to many
regions bordering Vietnam, including Guang Xi, where three people have
been infected with the deadly H7N9 virus.
Guang Xi borders four provinces of Vietnam, so the country is facing a high risk of an epidemic spread, Dong said.
From the beginning of this year, 130 people in China have contracted
the H7N9 virus and 31 of them have died, according to Chinese health
Although the H7N9 virus has yet to be detected in Vietnam, effective measures should be taken to prevent it, Dong said.
In order to prevent the H7N9 penetration, Minister Cao Duc Phat
decided “to absolutely ban importing poultry via the [northern] border
under any form.”
He added that “this is a difficult task to do, but it can be fulfilled with a strong determination.”
High mortality rate
The H7N9 flu transmits from birds to humans and causes a high
mortality rate. Having the same ways of transmission of the H5N1, the
H7N9 virus is often found at poultry trading areas with poor hygienic
conditions, the Veterinary Department said.
“The H7N9 virus is very fatal. The virus can be transmitted rapidly
through many ways, and for every four people who have contracted it, one
has died,” Minister Cao Duc Phat warned.
In addition, unlike H5N1, the H7N9 virus transmits quietly among
herds of poultry without leaving clear epidemic signs, so its appearance
is hard to be discovered, the minister said.
This means poultry contracting the virus can show no clinical
symptoms, so testing poultry samples must be carried out regularly for
early detection, he added.
In a related development, 30-year-old Huynh Thanh Tuan, a man of
Khanh Hoa Province who contracted the H1N1 flu, died at 5 pm Thursday
after nine days of treatment at the Khanh Hoa Province General Hospital.
Tuan’s samples were tested by the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute
and the Nha Trang City Pasteur Institute, which both confirmed Tuan had
contracted the H1N1 virus, a human seasonal flu virus that is also
endemic in pigs (swine influenza) and in birds (avian influenza).