Vietnam culls 100,000 fowl as bird flu looms large

By Tat Dinh   February 8, 2021 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnam culls 100,000 fowl as bird flu looms large
Chickens are seen at a farm in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 24, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam has culled more than 100,000 fowl so far this year following outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N1 and H5N6 bird flu strains in 14 localities.

The outbreaks appeared early last month, mainly in small-scale livestock farms where the birds are not vaccinated, according to the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

So far this year, as many as 40 avian flu outbreaks have been detected in 14 localities, including Hanoi and Quang Ninh in the north and other localities in southern and central Vietnam.

The department has stressed that the risk for the outbreaks to spread on a larger scale is very high.

It has advised people not to cook poultry of unknown origin and not to consume fowl blood pudding, a Vietnamese specialty prepared with raw blood.

Vietnam has around 460 million fowl, the department estimates. Around 133,000 had to be culled in 2019 due to avian flu outbreaks.

The two avian flu virus strains, H5N6 and H5N1, that have been detected in the ongoing outbreaks spread from poultry to humans through contact with infected faeces or other bodily fluids, and can prove fatal.

Bird flu has killed at least 65 people in Vietnam since it first occurred in 2003. No human deaths have been reported in recent years, but occasional outbreaks have led to millions of fowl being killed.

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