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How Vietnam Mastered Infectious Disease Control

11/05/2015

Excerpt: "Southeast Asia is recognized as a hotspot for new viruses—it’s where virus hunters go to figure out what to put in next year’s flu vaccines. O’Leary says that Vietnam’s large population of domestic ducks, chickens, and pigs makes the country particularly vulnerable. “There’s a lot of potential contact with human populations,” he says. And then there’s the continued impact of human activity on forests. “The forests have been extensively logged, and so the opportunities for wildlife, for instance, to come into contact with domestic animals and into contact with humans are great,” he says.

Public health leaders in Vietnam are well aware that the country is a breeding ground for new diseases. And they’re sold on One Health, both for Vietnam itself and for global health security. “Diseases used to be enclosed in certain regions or countries,” says Dr. Tran Dac Phu, head of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Health Department. “Now globalization has made them easier to spread.” In 2003, Vietnam was the second country to report a case of SARS, a disease that whipped up waves of panic as it threatened to spread around the world. It was also the first country to contain the outbreak."

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