Vietnam forms emergency response teams as bird flu ravages China

By Xuan Hoa   February 27, 2017 | 06:46 pm PT
Vietnam forms emergency response teams as bird flu ravages China
Animal health officials inspect a chicken shop in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Photo courtesy of Nong Nghiep Newspaper
Animal health officials are concerned about poultry smuggling in Hanoi and several border provinces.

Vietnam has formed inspection and emergency response teams to prevent the deadly bird flu virus H7N9 now rapidly spreading in China, Vietnam's agriculture ministry said. 

The teams are tasked with preventing poultry smuggling in border provinces of Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lang Son and Quang Ninh, and also in the northern provinces of Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and in Hanoi. The emergency response teams shall contain the spread of the virus if detected.

The H7N9 virus was first found in China in March 2013 and has killed 94 people in the mainland this year, the World Health Organization said. The virus has spread to 16 cities and provinces in China, including areas bordering Vietnam.

Vietnam has not reported any infection of the H7N9 strain but officials are concerned about high risks from the busy border trade of undocumented poultry. Earlier this month officials have seized more than 8,000 ducks smuggled from China into Lang Son Province.

Vietnamese animal health officials consulted last week with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on technical measures to restrict the illegal trade.

Vietnam has been fighting with H5N1 and H5N6 bird flu outbreaks in seven provinces across the country, including the Mekong Delta, with more than 30,000 fouls sickened or culled. A place is considered free of bird flu after 21 days without new infections.

The country has reported no human infections of bird flu in the past two years.

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Bird flu spreads its ugly wings as Vietnam battles to contain outbreaks

Bird flu returns to Vietnam; outbreaks kill thousands of poultry

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