13 Nov 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Even as China is making all efforts to prevent H7N9 Avian Influenza bird flu from spreading, its neighbor, Vietnam is facing an even greater risk of transmission.
The cross-border smuggling of poultry that has not yet been prevented effectively is the reason for this escalated fear in Vietnam, said Mr Dac Phu, head of the Preventive Health Department under the Health Ministry in a notice. Sounding this warning, Mr Phu added that China has confirmed four new H7N9 bird flu cases in which some patients had contacted poultry.
As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), H7N9 bird flu had consumed 45 lives and infected 138 others in the mainland in May. However, there is no evidence of sustainable human-to-human transmission so far.
He added that as the winter-spring weather will be cold, it would further facilitate the proliferation of the virus. The department has called on all local authorities in provinces and cities, especially in the northern border with China, in conjunction with local preventive health agencies, to strengthen examinations of passengers and poultry at border dates to detect virus inflections.
"Concerned agencies should boost their control over cross-border trade activities to detect and seize smuggled poultry. In case anyone is found contracting the virus, they must be treated in isolation properly and effectively," the department added.
Mr Phu further warned that the local health authorities should pay attention to cases of severe inflammation of the respiratory tract to identify an H7N9 infection, if any, and prepare enough health equipment and supplies to cope with any possible H7N9 bird flu outbreaks.
"Treatment of patients must be in accordance with the regulations and instructions of the Ministry of Health," the department added. Further people there have been warned not to buy or eat any chickens, ducks or other poultry without quarantine or with unknown origin on the market.