Viet Nam
NEWS IN BRIEF QII/2017

1. Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia joint simulation exercise on surveillance and response to cross-border avian influenza. On 10-11 May 2017, three countries sharing the same border namely Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia jointly organised a simulation exercise workshop on cross-border avian influenza surveillance and response. Representing at the workshop were leaders and focal officials in charge of disease prevention and control from relevant departments of the ministries of health and agriculture of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. This table-top simulation exercise workshop on avian influenza surveillance and response provided a great opportunity for border provinces of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia to evaluate the real situation and examine the information sharing mechanisms of communicable diseases between countries. Based on that, activities were identified that could be jointly undertaken to respond to avian influenza in border provinces when outbreaks occur. The three countries conducted a two-day simulation with specific scenarios addressing a context where avian influenza occurs and spreads across the border. Dr Dang Quang Tan, Deputy Director General of the General Department of Preventive Medicine (GDPM), Ministry of Health of Viet Nam highly appreciated the participation of delegates from the three countries as well as the support from international organizations. In the coming time, based on the positive results of this workshop, Viet Nam will continue to strengthen its cooperation with Laos and Cambodia on cross-border activities as well as promoting specific simulation exercises at provincial and district levels (Information from the General Department of Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Health of Viet Nam)./.

2. Findings on transformation from low to high pathogenicity of Influenza A (H7N9) in China. Influenza A(H7N9) was first reported in China in March 2013, with five subsequent waves of outbreaks. Recent outbreaks have tended to be widely spread in some Chinese southern and southeast provinces in China, including outbreaks recorded in two provinces bordering Viet Nam, namely Yunnan and Guangxi. According to reports of WHO and FAO, the transformation of influenza A(H7N9) from low to high pathogenic was found while analysing influenza virus genes in human as well as in poultry. High pathogenic genes were found in 2 patients infected by influenza A(H7N9) virus (in Guangdong province) and one patient infected by influenza A(H7N9) virus (in Taiwan) (according to WHO’s announcement dated 25 February 2017). According to FAO, high pathogenic influenza was recorded in 41 samples in poultry and environment (including 30 chicken, 1 duck and 10 environment samples). The samples were collected from 23 live poultry markets and 3 farms in Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi and Henan provinces. Findings of the research illustrated that high pathogenic avian influenza A (H7N9) viruses may kill 100% of infected chickens (in laboratory tests) and could be transmitted 100-1,000 times faster than low pathogenic viruses. This consecutive change is a natural feature of influenza virus due to recombinant processes. Currently, there is no evidence that the transformation in influenza A(H7N9) could be easily spread from human to human. Also, there have not been any recommendations from WHO on clinical management changes of influenza A (H7N9) infections in human. In the complex situation of influenza A(H7N9) virus in China as well as the transformation of the virus, a number of Official Telegraphs and Official Letters have been issued by the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on strengthening surveillance, early detection, training on outbreak testing and handling,  inspection of disease prevention implementation at local level (Information from the General Department of Preventive Medicine of MOH, Viet Nam)./.

3. Workshop on Implementation of the National Program for Rabies Control and Elimination, 2017-2021. On 18 April 2017, a workshop on the implementation of the National Program for Rabies Control and Elimination, 2017-2021 was held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in collaboration with the People's Committee of Thai Nguyen province. Vice Minister Vu Van Tam of MARD and Mr. Doan Van Tuan, Vice Chairman of Thai Nguyen People's Committee, co-chaired the workshop. In his opening speech, Vice Minister Vu Van Tam emphasised the role of Viet Nam as a pioneer country in the region to implement rabies prevention activities, especially the commitment to the “ASEAN Rabies Elimination Strategy.” The objectives of this workshop were to provide an update on the rabies situation, to discuss measures for rabies prevention and control, and to strengthen collaboration with localities on the implementation of the National Program for Rabies Control and Elimination in the upcoming period (Information from the Department of Animal Health of MARD, Viet Nam)./.

4. Workshop on dissemination and implementation of the Veterinary Law. In order to disseminate veterinary legal documents issued by the Government of Viet Nam and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), two workshops on the dissemination of the Veterinary Law and related legal documents were organised in Ha Noi and Quy Nhon City on 18 and 21 July 2017 respectively. The workshops were held by the Department of Animal Health in collaboration with the OHP Secretariat. Legal documents that were circulated included Circular No. 07/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated 31 May 2016 by MARD on the prevention and response to zoonotic diseases in terrestrial animals; Decree No. 35/2016 /ND-CP dated 15 May 2016 by the Government promulgating the regulations on detailing some articles in the Veterinary Law; Circular No. 14/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated 02 June 2016 by MARDissuing the regulations on zoonotic disease-safe areas and locations; Circular No. 25/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated 30 June 2016 by the MARD issuing the regulations on quarantine of aquatic animals and animal products; Circular No. 26/2016/TT-BNNPTNT dated 30 June 2016 by the Minister of MARD on providing for the quarantine of aquatic animals and aquatic animal products. In the two workshops, there was full participation of technical officials from Sub-Departments of Animal Health and leaders from Animal Health centres at district level of 47 cities/provinces in the country./.