Viet Nam was one of the first countries severely affected by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which has been sweeping across Asia since 2003. To date, more than 53 million poultry have been culled, impacting the livelihoods of hundred thousand families across the country.
The most critical period for Viet Nam in dealing with HPAI was during 2004-2005, when the country was put on the spotlight for being most seriously affected, with a recorded 94 human cases and 42 deaths (World Health Organization). During that time, the disease was reported in the poultry population in nearly all parts of the country.
As of November 2008, Viet Nam has had five epidemic waves of HPAI.
The 1st epidemic wave (2004-2005) prompted the Government of Viet Nam to adopt control strategy as per recommendations of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OiE) which include culling of all poultry in infected areas, restriction on introduction of new poultry into the area for at least 21 days period, and control of movement of poultry in neighbouring areas. In late 2005, a mass twice-a-year (March-April; September-October) vaccination policy was introduced nationwide.
The scale of the epidemic showed a substantial reduction in the 2nd and 3rd waves (2005). For almost 12 months, Viet Nam did not have a reported disease outbreak in the country until the 4th wave, which occurred in December 2006. The outbreaks coincided with the season of increased poultry production and consumption, leading up to the Tet festival (Lunar New Year. The 5th wave of the epidemic began in May 2007 and continued for several months until an interval of no outbreak seen in more than 21 days monitoring period was observed in September 2007.
In 2008, 5 human cases have been confirmed, all of which had a fatal outcome.
To date, sporadic outbreaks continue, involving many provinces across the country. One human case has been confirmed in January 2009.
Chronology of disease
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Vietnam
Department of Animal Health Vietnam
Partnership for Avian and Human Influenza
MOH Ministry of Health
FAO Regional Office in Asia Pacific
UN System Influenza Coordinator
World Health Organization of the United Nations in Vietnam