VIETNAM: Going to the Birds?

YVONNE EPPS WRITES – Vietnam is counting its chickens.

In response to 11 deaths in China from a new strain of bird flu, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health is gearing up to fight the disease, even though there are no reported in-country infections yet.

As reported by Vietnam News and Voice of Vietnam, the ministry as directing all health departments to prepare care centers and strengthen their detection skills of the H7N9 virus. The ministry released an official guide to the diagnosis and prevention of the disease, with suggestions like “maintaining good personal hygiene.”

Focus on internal affairs is right, but these reports may be causing more concern than is needed. What is more concerning is that the Ministry of Health is leaving out important information that is being provided by outside authorities on the disease. Although the Voice of Vietnam article (“A/H7N9 virus likely to enter Vietnam”) mentions the World Health Organization (WHO) as a source, the more liberal Tuoi Tre News focused on the collaboration between the Ministry of Health, WHO and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

It turns out that WHO plays a large part in the analysis of the virus, stating that there is no evidence that links human contraction and further infections outside of China. Concerning the anxiety of the situation, reports should at least have a general consensus on these facts. Internal reporting differences among Vietnamese news venues is almost always entertaining.

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