VietNamNet Bridge – Preventative work has been carried out at Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Noi Bai International Airport, the main gateways to Vietnam for foreign visitors, to promptly respond to the bird flu virus of the H7N9 type.
Body temperature check
Leaders of the HCMC Department of Health and interdisciplinary agencies last Saturday went to Tan Son Nhat International Airport to examine the prevention of the new virus strain.
Dr. Hoang Ngoc Hung, deputy director of Center for International Health Quarantine, the unit in charge of disease surveillance at the airport, said preventative measures had been strengthened.
All arriving passengers have to go through body temperature check and functional units are on duty around the clock. In addition, in-flight supervision is exercised and aircrew is required to wash their hands after making contact with passengers.
“We received an urgent dispatch of the Ministry of Health on prevention of the H7N9-type avian influenza virus on April 5. In fact, the preventative measures are implemented everyday, but are strengthened in the present context,” Hung said.
H7N9 makes patients catch fever, so it is easy to detect when their body temperature is measured, he informed. He reassured the public and the media that this virus had not shown person-to-person transmission.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long and the Steering Committee for Prevention and Control of Dangerous and Emerging Epidemics last Thursday went to Noi Bai International Airport to check disease prevention.
Representative of the airport management board said the airport is using two temperature scanners to measure body temperature of every passenger. As of last Saturday morning, no suspected H7N9 cases had been detected at this gateway.
The airport management board is working with interdisciplinary units to examine food hygiene and safety and closely supervise poultry and products of poultry origin imported through the airport. Preparations of disinfectants, medicines and equipment for first aid, temporary isolation, patient transportation and environmental remediation are complete.
Deputy Minister Long said suspected patients should be timely isolated and tested. The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases is selected for the treatment of such patients.
No suspected H7N9 cases detected
In Dispatch 1807/BYT-DP sent to local health departments and institutes of hygiene and epidemiology nationwide, the health ministry requests the recipients to join hands with local authorities and veterinary agencies to boost surveillance to promptly detect and treat bird flu outbreaks.
Tran Ngoc Huu, director of the Pasteur Institute in HCMC, said no suspected cases of humans infected with the H7N9-type avian influenza had been detected in Vietnam as of last Saturday, but preparedness was high.
“Devices and chemicals for H7N9 sample testing have been prepared by the Pasteur Institute… In fact, as there have been no suspected cases of influenza A infection, it is too soon to say the process of testing, identifying pathogens and treatment is similar to a normal flu infection case,” said Huu.
A source from the infectious disease prevention division under the General Department of Preventive Medicine said his agency is working with the ministries of agriculture and industry-trade and customs offices at border gates to enhance supervision and inspection of poultry imports.
Local authorities are urgently forming inspection teams to carry out disease prevention and control works, especially in the northern border areas, the areas of poultry slaughter and wholesale and where poultry gets sick and dies of unknown cause.
Citizens are advised to wash hands frequently with soap, not consume poultry and poultry products of unknown origin, and report to local governments and veterinary units on sick and dead poultry.
Those returning from infected areas have to adopt preventive measures and make reports on their health status to local health agencies. When developing symptoms such as cough, chest pain and shortness of breath, they should immediately go to healthcare centers for prompt examination and treatment.