Spreading lime powder to prevent diseases at a chicken farm (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – An urgent meeting was held in Hanoi on February 20 to discuss measures to prevent avian influenza viruses, especially A/H7N9, which are spreading in some neighbouring countries.

Director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine Tran Dac Phu cited the World Health Organisation as saying that the A/H7N9 virus is raging in 14 provinces and cities of China with a sharp rise in incidences and a high mortality rate (about 40 percent). From October 6, 2016, to February 19 this year, China recorded 425 people with A/H7N9, mostly in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces which border Vietnam.

Last January, some hotbeds of A/H5N1 in poultry were reported in the Cambodian province of Svay Rieng, which also borders Vietnam, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

There is a high risk that these bird flu viruses will enter Vietnam, Phu said.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said avian influenza viruses, especially A/H7N9, are likely to enter Vietnam if effective preventive measures are not taken.

He asked the health sector and relevant ministries and agencies to carry out preventative measures to prepare for all circumstances. The agriculture sector should monitor poultry-related epidemics, thoroughly deal with hotbeds, and share information with health agencies. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Public Security and the border guard force need to prevent fowl smuggling and deal with illegal poultry business activities strictly.

Long also requested the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Pasteur institutes in the central and southern regions to focus on suspected cases in localities bordering countries with bird flu outbreaks.

In 2016, Vietnam recorded A/H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in seven communes and wards of six districts and townships in Nghe An province, Ca Mau province and Can Tho city. There haven’t been any A/H5N1 outbreaks in 2017, according to the Preventive Medicine Department.

The flu viruses of A/H7N9, A/H5N8 and A/H5N1 have yet to be reported in humans in Vietnam. The A/H3N2 and A/H1N1 viruses and type B viruses are seasonal influenza viruses in the country.-VNA