Technical Review on H7N9 Preparedness in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region
On 25-26 August 2014, a meeting on the Technical Review on H7N9 Preparedness in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region was organized in Bangkok, Thailand. Participants at the meeting included government officials from the animal health sector and the human health sector in Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam; representatives from the Veterinary Bureau in China; and representatives from FAO, WHO, OIE and USAID at country, regional and headquarters levels.

The novel H7N9 virus was first detected in China in humans in March 2013. No cases have yet been detected in Viet Nam in either human or avian populations.

In the meeting, the participants shared experiences on surveillance and risk assessment in relation to H7N9 influenza. Country representatives provided updates on the situation and national activities on H7N9 preparedness and emergency response planning in their respective countries. WHO and FAO also provided an update on the progress of the H7N9 joint risk assessment, based on an animal health, human health and value chain approach. Following consultation with national committees and all related partners, this method is expected to be further developed for application at the country level. Operational challenges in relation to implementation of H7N9 activities at the country level were also discussed in order to improve preparedness for the next influenza season.