Strict controls in the trade of poultry and strengthened coordination among localities nationwide are two of the most important measures to effectively prevent the spread of avian influenza H7N9.

Hoang Duc Hanh, Deputy Director of the Hanoi Health Department, made this affirmation at a conference jointly held on April 13 by the department and its counterparts from seven northern border provinces, including Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Dien Bien.

The conference aimed to find preventive measures to deal with the new strain of avian influenza, which has so far claimed 11 lives in China .

The Hanoi department suggested cities and provinces nationwide share information and experience in treating patients and preventing the disease as well as timely informing suspected cases to take appropriate treatment and isolation measures.

Participants at the event agreed on a high infection risk of avian influenza H7N9 and the necessity for coordination in preventing its spread.

The control of poultry trading from China into Vietnam is facing numerous difficulties due to the long border and limited supervisors, said Director of the Quang Ninh provincial Health Department Vu Xuan Dieu .

He stressed the need to strengthen inter-sectoral coordination and raise local authorities’ responsibility for controlling poultry smuggling.

Hanoi has set up five mobile response teams that are working around the clock to fight avian influenza H7N9. Accordingly, the teams must respond to outbreaks within 30 minutes since they receive an order.

Equipped with first aid equipment and medicine, they are also tasked with guiding technical skills in diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Meanwhile, Ha Giang province has carried out strict measures to control poultry smuggling through Thanh Thuy National Border Gate in Vi Xuyen district.

It is also working with China ’s Yunnan province to promptly detect and deal with any infected case to limit its impacts.

As a locality with many national and international border gates, Lang Son province has made necessary preparations, including arranging infrared body temperature measuring machines and isolation rooms, and stockpiling the antiviral drug Tamiflu to cope with any outbreaks .

It has intensified the dissemination of information to increase local people’s awareness of the risk of the bird flu virus.

On April 14, the virus spread to China’s Henan province, driving the number of localities in China with reported H7N9 cases to six, and the number of confirmed infections to 51.

According to medical specialists, the source and means of the avian influenza’s spread is not known.

No vaccine is currently available for this subtype of the influenza virus and there is so far no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Preventive measures include keeping good personal hygiene, regularly washing your hands with hot water and soap, and avoiding possible sources of infection like poultry markets.-VNA