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Vietnam was one of the first countries in the world affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) H5N1 outbreaks in 2003 and also reported the world’s first AI human case in that same year. Since then, Vietnam has experienced more than 3,000 animal outbreaks across the country and has had over 120 human cases, half of which have been fatal. While Vietnam is widely considered to be a model in terms of its response to AI, globally it currently ranks third behind Indonesia and Egypt in terms of human cases and deaths.
Since 2005, USAID has worked nationally and in high-risk provinces in the Red River and Mekong River deltas to strengthen national and regional preparedness, planning, and multi-sectoral coordination to prevent transmission of the H5N1 virus from animals to humans. Working closely with the Government of Vietnam, we promote early detection and warning of AI outbreaks and human influenza cases through improvements in the national surveillance system and development of quick-responding community-based surveillance. We have supported training, an upgraded animal health information system, provision of equipment and commodities relevant to avian and pandemic influenza, enhanced laboratory diagnostic capacity and the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.
Emerging Pandemic Threats
Nearly 75 percent of all new, emerging, or reemerging diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st century originated in animals. The speed with which these diseases can emerge and spread poses a global threat and presents serious public health, economic, and development concerns. It also underscores the need for the development of comprehensive disease detection and response capacities, particularly in those geographic areas where disease threats are likely to emerge.
Recognizing this need, USAID launched a program to prevent and combat diseases that could spark future pandemics. As Southeast Asia is a priority region for tracking potential emerging pandemics, we are helping to identify and respond to dangerous pathogens in animals before they can become significant threats to human health. The program draws on expertise from across the animal and human health sectors to build regional, national and local capacities for early disease detection, diagnosis, response and containment, and disease risk reduction.
Last updated: March 11, 2014