HANOI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Health (MoH) recently sent an urgent circular to provinces and cities, asking them to beef up the prevention and fight against H7N9 bird flu.
Appearing on MoH's General Department of Preventive Medicine website on Monday, the circular said although Vietnam has not reported any H7N9 case so far, the country has witnessed two deaths caused by H5N1 virus since the beginning of 2014.
In a recent development, a 39-year-old woman who was hospitalized at Vietnam's National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in a serious health condition of respiratory failure has reportedly showed positive results for avian influenza or H5N1 bird flu. The patient had not contacted with poultry, but there were dead chicken in her family, said the circular.
According to the department, H5N1 bird flu risks have loomed large to be able to spread in Vietnam together with the threat of H7N9 bird flu from neighboring countries due to geographical proximity as well as border trade and exchange activities.
Nguyen Tran Hien, head of Vietnam's National Hygiene and Epidemiology, said on local Vietnam Economic Review on Monday that there are high risks of combination of different influenza viruses or creation of new virus that will have greater virulence and cause greater danger to local people's health.
MoH thus asked local bodies to strengthen supervision of bird flu viruses including H7N9, H10N8, H6N1 and H5N1 at border gates and communities, collect samples of suspected bird flu viruses in hospitals and increase people's awareness of prevention and fight against bird flu viruses.