Vietnam Launches Mobile Bird Flu Testing Lab

VIETNAM - Vietnam has set up a 2-million-dollar mobile laboratory to test for human cases of deadly avian influenza in preparation for a possible return of the disease in the population, an official said Thursday.
calendar icon 11 January 2007
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The Japanese-funded Mobile Biosafety Laboratory has the capability to be sent to sites of human outbreaks and offers more reliable testing for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, according to Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the country's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

"The advantage of the mobile labs is to enable us to rapidly respond to infectious diseases," Hien said.

Vietnam, which was once the hardest-hit country by bird flu with 42 people dead, has not had a confirmed human case since late 2005, when an aggressive poultry vaccination campaign controlled the virus in birds, giving it less chance to be passed to people.

However, recent new outbreaks in domestic poultry have raised fears of more human cases, as happened in 2004 and early 2005.


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