Collaborators begin new One Health study of avian influenza viruses in Vietnam

AI 1

A live-bird market in Mong Cai District, Quang Ninh Province that is a few kilometers from the Chinese border (photo credit:ILRI/Hung Nguyen).

In January, a team of human, animal, and environmental health investigators began an ambitious surveillance project to detect novel influenza viruses among poultry in Vietnam. The surveillance will involve collecting more than 5,000 field samples in a 12-month period at live-bird markets in Hanoi and three of Vietnam’s northern provinces.

Following a successful pilot study using stationary bioaerosol sampling to detect avian influenza virus in Hanoi’s largest live bird market, the research partnership of the National Institute of Veterinary Research (NIVR), the Hanoi University of Public Health (HUPH), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Duke One Health Team (USA, China and Singapore) is expanding the use of this method to conduct a new, more comprehensive avian influenza virus surveillance study in Vietnam’s border provinces near China.

In this new study, air samples will be taken in six of the largest live-bird markets in three provinces which share border areas with China (Lao Cai, Lang Son and Quang Ninh Provinces). Sampling will also be done in Ha Vi wholesale live-bird market in Hanoi. Using a One Health approach, field teams will collect specimens from poultry, poultry cages, live bird market air, and poultry workers’ noses. Planned sampling from poultry, the live bird market environment, and humans is supported by sellers and local partners as the sampling is largely non-invasive. This support is important in the current discussion on animal welfare and medical research ethics in Vietnam.

AI 2

Laura Borkenhagen (Duke University, USA) and Thé Son Than, DVM (Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore) demonstrate air sampling methods to the staff of the Lao Cai Sub-Department of Animal Health and Livestock (photo credit: ILRI/Hung Nguyen).

From 8-15 January 2019, the research team conducted site visits in the three border provinces and discussed the study with the staff of the Sub-Department of Animal Health and Livestock staff who expressed their strong support for the initiative and partnership in the project. This study will provide important information regarding avian influenza virus ecology and potential risk to humans.

Support for this work comes from US Navy Medical Research Center – Asia.

(The post was originally posted on Duke University website and written by Hung Nguyen, ILRI’s regional representative for East and Southeast Asia).

Read more about the journal on ‘Bioaerosol sampling to detect avian influenza virus in Hanoi’s largest live poultry market