Vietnam calls for heightened alert against avian flu outbreaks

By Phan Anh   February 4, 2020 | 06:13 pm PT
Vietnam calls for heightened alert against avian flu outbreaks
Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has called for localities nationwide to heighten measures to curb and prevent avian flu outbreaks. Illustration photo by Shutterstock/Sodel Vladyslav.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has called on localities nationwide to step up preventive measures against avian flu outbreaks.

In a document sent to the People's Committees of provinces and cities Monday, the ministry asked them to vaccinate poultry, prevent animal trafficking, collect poultry samples to test for avian flu, sanitize high-risk areas to get rid of pathogens and take several other measures, starting this month.

The ministry cited recent reports by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that say avian flu outbreaks have been spotted in 11 countries and territories this year. Vietnam in particular has seen one avian flu outbreak in the northern province of Quang Ninh this year, and samples taken from over 19,000 poultry farms and households in 26 cities and provinces found 37.72 percent testing positive for avian flu, the ministry noted.

It warned that due to the high number of poultry in Vietnam (estimated at around 467 million), changing weather patterns, high demand for poultry products and low vaccination rates, the chances are high that avian flu outbreaks could surface and spread.

China, which borders Vietnam and is currently the epicenter of the ongoing novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak, has reported last Saturday an outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 bird flu at a farm in Shaoyang City in the southern province of Hunan.

The outbreak happened on a farm with 7,850 chickens, of which 4,500 have died due to the flu. Authorities have killed 17,828 fowls following the outbreak.

Last August, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province killed around 10,500 chickens infected with the H5N6 bird flu virus to try and prevent further outbreaks.

Bird flu has killed at least 65 people in Vietnam since it first occurred in 2003, then one of the highest fatality rates in the world. No human deaths have been reported in the last two years, but occasional outbreaks have led to thousands of birds being killed.

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