Vietnam fears lack of equipment to cope with H7N9

By Lien Chau, TN News

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Vietnam fears lack of equipment to cope with H7N9

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Vietnamese health authorities have expressed concerns over the lack of equipment to cope with the possible outbreak of the new virulent H7N9 strain of bird flu.
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien told an online conference Sunday that nine of the 28 thermometers at border gates across the country used for anti-bird flu work are currently out of order.
Meanwhile, H7N9 can enter the country at any time, she said.
According to a representative from the US Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the shut-down of poultry markets in China has led to poultry being sold to other countries at low prices, while it is difficult for Vietnam to control the imports of poultry via the border with China.
Takeshi Kasai, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Vietnam, said H7N9 can enter Vietnam via smuggled poultry or humans.
Authorities in Lang Son Province, which borders China, said they are maintaining 14 checkpoints to control the import of poultry around-the-clock at border areas.
Currently, 17 provinces around Vietnam have reported outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Since 2003, 63 of 126 H5N1 cases in the country have proved fatal.
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