Messages to U.S. citizens
2009-H1N1 Influenza A
May 13, 2009
This Warden Message alerts U.S. citizens to the latest information regarding human cases of 2009-H1N1 Influenza A, sometimes referred to as swine flu. As of May 13, the World Health Organization has not reported any cases of 2009-H1N1 Influenza in Vietnam.
A. Vietnamese Procedures for Quarantine
Vietnamese authorities are screening all inbound passengers for the possible presence of the 2009-H1N1 virus among passengers arriving on inbound international flights. Arriving passengers should expect the following procedures upon arriving in Vietnam:
Passengers will be required to fill out declarations describing their recent medical and possible exposure history.
Screening will be performed using thermal scanning which will not make any contact with the traveler in HCMC and using a thermometer with an ear probe in Hanoi.
- Passengers with a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius or exhibit flu symptoms will be referred to for further diagnosis. Passengers with suspected 2009-H1N1 influenza A will be quarantined and treated at the respective facilities:
Ho Chi Minh City
Tropical Disease Hospital, 190 Ham Tu, Ward 1, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 84-8-38380302
Pham Ngoc Tuberculosis Hospital, 120 Hung Vuong, Ward 12, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 84-8-39574127
Pediatric Hospital 1, 341 Su Van Hanh, Ward 10, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 84-8-39274034
Pediatric Hospital 2, 14 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 84-8-38295723
National Institute of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, 78 Giai Phong Road, Hanoi, Tel: 84-4-35764402
Bac Thang Long Hospital, Block 3A, Dong Anh Town, Hanoi, Tel: 84-4-38833139
Duc Giang Hospital, Truong Lam street, Duc Giang Town, Long Bien District, Hanoi, Tel: 84-4-38774001
Dong Da Hospital, 192 Nguyen Luong Bang street, Hanoi, Tel: 84-4-35112505
If you are ordered into quarantine or admitted to a hospital for observation, please immediately contact the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi or the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City using the contact information at the end of this message.
B. Information and Precautions for 2009-H1N1 Influenza A
The Embassy and Consulate General remind U.S. citizens that, according to the CDC, illness caused by 2009-H1N1 Influenza A causes symptoms indistinguishable from typical seasonal influenza. For most people, these symptoms are mild and do not require specific treatment. Those at higher risk for complications from influenza illness include those under the age of 5, those over the age of 65, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions. Antiviral therapy might be indicated for those in these higher risk categories if they become ill.
Any questions or concerns about influenza or other illnesses should be directed to a medical professional. Although the Embassy cannot provide medical advice or provide medical services to the public, lists of hospitals and doctors for the five consular districts can be found at the following websites:
Ho Chi Minh City: http://hochiminh.usconsulate.gov/medical_legal_advice.html
According to CDC, Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people. CDC guidance listed below can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like the influenza illness:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
If possible stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
C. General Travel Precautions and Guidance on Preparedness
This evolving H1N1 story serves as important reminder of the need for taking precautions and preparing in the event of pandemic influenza. This is especially true for persons who live in Vietnam, where highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A is endemic in animals and sporadic cases in humans do occur.
Private American citizens should be aware that it may not be possible to travel during an outbreak of pandemic influenza. Governments may close borders suddenly and without advance warning; commercial air, land and sea carriers could curtail or cancel service; and restricting travel may be the best way to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. These developments could impede a return to the United States or travel to another country or region. Therefore, Americans who are overseas during a pandemic may need to remain where they are until conditions improve, a situation which could last several months.
According to the CDC and the American Red Cross, in preparing for such a situation it is necessary to consider local conditions and evaluate your ability to maintain adequate supplies of food, water, and medication should a pandemic result in borders closing or disruptions in international travel. Decide on your optimal location in a pandemic and plan accordingly. Ask your doctor in advance about obtaining appropriate medication for treatment if you become ill, keeping in mind it could take many months to develop and produce sufficient quantities of a vaccine during a pandemic. Remember that U.S. embassies, consulates and military facilities lack the legal authority, capability, and resources to dispense medications, vaccines or medical care to private American citizens overseas. If you are a private American citizen (e.g., living, working, touring, studying overseas) you will need to rely on local health care providers and locally-available medications since U.S. government facilities will not be able to provide medications or treat you.
American citizens are strongly encouraged to review their disaster preparedness plans and may wish to refer to the following websites to help plan for an influenza outbreak:
For further information about 2009-H1N1 Influenza A, including steps you can take to stay healthy, please consult the Department of State information at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/flu/flu_1181.html, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/, the U.S. Government pandemic influenza website at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/, and the World Health Organization website at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html. For additional travel safety information, please consult the State Department's website at http://www.travel.state.gov/.
U.S. citizens may also call the Office of Overseas Citizens Services in the United States for the latest travel information. The Office of Overseas Citizens Services can be reached from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday through Friday, by calling 1-888-407-4747 from within the U.S. and Canada, or by calling (202) 501-4444 from other countries.
Americans living or traveling in Vietnam are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/ so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Vietnam. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.
The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi is located at 170 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, telephone: (84-4) 3850-5000; after hours emergency telephone number: (84-4) 3850-5000; fax: (84-4) 3850-5010. The web site for the U.S. Embassy Hanoi is http://vietnam.usembassy.gov/.
The U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City is located at 4 Le Duan, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, telephone: (84-8) 3520-4200; fax: (84-8) 3520-4244. The web site for the U.S. Consulate General is http://hochiminh.usconsulate.gov/.