Vietnam   will cooperate with regional countries in making policies to control H5N1    avian influenza in the future, a Vietnamese official said.               

Diep Kinh Tan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the affirmation at a workshop on policies to prevent the highly pathogenic influenza A(H5N1) virus, H5N1 HPAI, which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on April 23.               

The three-day conference, jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Ministry of Health and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has drawn the participation of representatives from nine regional countries affected by the epidemic.              

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Tan said that   Vietnam   has been one of the countries greatly affected by the H5N1 avian influenza. By March 2011,   Vietnam   reported 119 type A/H5N1 cases among humans, including 59 fatalities. The figures accounted for 23 percent of the total cases and 19 percent of the total fatalities in the world.              

However, bird flu infection cases in   Vietnam   have decreased since 2005, showing the effectiveness of the country’s prevention measures, he said.              

Tan affirmed that the control and prevention of avian influenza cannot be done unilaterally, and cooperation with countries which have experience in H5N1 control will help   Vietnam   introduce more effective prevention plans.              

According to participants, the H5N1 epidemic among human remains a threat for the region in the future as a mutating type of H5N1 virus has appeared and spread from Southeast Asia to East and  South Asia .              

During the conference, MARD will work with the Cambodian and Chinese delegations to discuss cooperative programmes on H5N1 control in each nation./.