|The Market Watch intercepts a truck smuggling baby chickens without clear origins in northern Quang Ninh Province on November 17. — Photo qtv.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam should strengthen measures to prevent avian influenza, the A/H7N9 virus, from entering the country, the Ministry of Health's Preventive Health Department has said.
The department will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to enhance supervision and co-operation to detect and deal with in a timely manner any infections caused by the disease, it said.
The statement was made today after the World Health Organisation (WHO) and China's National Health and Family Planning Commission announced six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with A/H7N9 and A/H9N2. Two patients with A/H7N9 were reportedly in critical condition.
No cases of infection have been detected in Viet Nam so far. However, Viet Nam faces a high risk of avian influenza transmission as it shares a border with China and conducts many trading activities with the country, especially in light of the coming lunar New Year Festival, which creates an increasing demand for poultry.
The department encouraged people returning from epidemic-hit countries to notify the local health authorities of their condition and to rush to a hospital or clinic for a check-up if they have flu-like symptoms, chest pain or breathing difficulties.
Those preparing to visit epidemic-hit countries were advised to avoid possible infection sources, such as poultry markets. Other preventive measures, such as maintaining rigorous personal hygiene and regularly washing hands with soap, were also encouraged.
There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the A/H7N9 virus has been found in poultry in many provinces across China since this June.
More than 680 cases of A/H7N9-positive cases have been reported around the world so far. — VNS