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Swift measures taken against new strain of bird flu

Update: April, 12/2013 - 13:57

Some regions in Viet Nam are preparing to cope with the new H7N9 strain of bird flu although no cases of infection have yet been reported.—Illustrative image

HA NOI (VNS) — Some regions in Viet Nam are preparing to cope with the new H7N9 strain of bird flu although no cases of infection have yet been reported.

Hoang Duc Hanh, deputy director of Ha Noi's Health Department said there is a high risk of appearance of the A/H7N9 virus in the country so all districts are focusing on preventive measures against the virus.The city's Health Department has set up five 24-hour teams for prevention of the A/H7N9 virus. These teams will be able to reach the infected areas within half an hour of being informed to support local authorities in giving tests and in treating suspected cases.

The city's hospitals are ready to admit and treat infected patients and allocate enough doctors to support the community health stations.

Two body temperature monitors and two isolation rooms have been set up in Noi Bai International Airport.

Nguyen Huy Dang, deputy director of the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said they are taking drastic measures to control the transport of poultry into the city, especially in the wholesale poultry market of Ha Vi in Thuong Tin District and big poultry farms of Phu Xuan District.

All quarantine stations are equipped throughout the day with devices to administer quick tests and hold equipment to incinerate infected poultry.

Vuong Chi Dung, deputy head of the city's Market Watch Unit said they have identified nearly 100 vehicles that usually transport smuggled chickens from China to the city. The numbers on their license plates have been shared with the border provinces and will be seized if they are caught smuggling poultry.

The city's citizens have also become aware of the dangers of the virus. Pham Thu Thuy in the city's Tu Liem District said it was difficult for people to detect infected poultry with their naked eyes, so many try to buy chickens from their relatives where they know the exact origin. If not people are free to choose fish, beef and pork, she said.

In the mean time, a steering board for the prevention of A/H7N9 avian influenza has been set up at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City, said Nguyen Van Sau, director of the International Health Quarantine Centre in HCM City.

The airport has three body-temperature monitors and necessary devices as well as chemicals for the detection and prevention of the disease, Sau said.

The Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City has set aside 50 beds and ensured a sufficient number of drugs and doctors in case there is a need. The HCM City Paediatric Hospitals No.1 and No.2 have also set up 80 beds and 30 beds, respectively.

Central cities and provinces such as Da Nang and Binh Dinh have taken necessary measures and asked their people to get health checks at local health stations if they detect symptoms such as cough, high fever and chest problems.

The Ministry of Health has just published an official guidance on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the spread of the flu A/H7N9 which will be applied in all health clinics nationwide.

Relevant agencies are entrusted to improve people's knowledge and skills about the virus and preventive measures.

Viet Nam, Italy remember SARS doctor

Dr. Carlo Urbani, an Italian doctor who died after contracting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) while working to eradicate the disease from Viet Nam in 2003 was commemorated yesterday in Ha Noi.

This event was organised by Viet Nam's Ministry of Health in co-operation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Italian Embassy in Viet Nam.

Carlo Urbani, born in 1956, was the infectious disease specialist in WHO office in Ha Noi since 2000. He was the first to identify SARS in Viet Nam as a new and dangerously contagious disease.

In late February 2003, he was asked to advise on a case of pneumonia in an American businessman in Ha Noi - French Hospital.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said Carlo Urbani soon understood the severity of the syndrome, and was aware of the threat.

He immediately gave the alert to WHO and advised hospital staff about protective and isolation measures to stop the spread of the disease, he said.

In the middle of March, he became infected and died on March 29th.

On the occasion, Long expressed his hope that WHO would continue to assist the country in preventing and controlling acute epidemics, especially the A/H7N9 virus. — VNS





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