Central region struggles to contain infection

After three weeks since bird flu was reported, authorities in Quang Tri and Ha Tinh Provinces are struggling to contain the spread of the disease.

As of Feb.18, H5N1 bird flu has reappeared amongst poultry in several communes in Quang Tri Province. More than 85,000 poultry infected with bird flu have already been destroyed.

The Department of Animal Health in the province and local animal health officials have taken drastic measures to prevent further spread of the disease such as destroying poultry, sterilising breeding farms, setting up quarantine stations, vaccinating live poultry and banning the transport of poultry and poultry products to infected areas.

The province provided 4.5 tonnes of spray chemicals to disinfect the farms and surrounding areas. It will focus on cleaning and sterilising breeding farms, markets, slaughter houses, transport vehicles and poultry products.

Le Thi Nga, head of the Department of Animal Health in the province said that bird flu outbreak in the province is now under control.

On Feb.8, Dr. Pham Thanh Binh, head of the Department of Animal Health in Ha Tinh Province said that thanks to implementing measures in time to sterilise breeding farms and isolate infected areas, the province controlled the disease in Ky Trinh and Cam Due Communes.

On the same day, Nguyen Thanh Nam, head of the Department of Animal Health in Quang Nam Province, said that the province authorities are trying to implement measures to control the disease.

Out of 11,000 ducks infected with H5N1 virus in Duy Trinh of Duy Xuyen District, 10,620 will be destroyed. The local authorities decided to isolate infected areas and declare a large-scale outbreak of the disease in Duy Trinh commune.

In addition, Quang Nam Province is facing high risk of the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in pigs, presently occurring in Que Son and Dien Ban Districts.

Ministry urges immediate control of bird flu disease

Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on Feb.18 met members of the National Steering Committee for Avian Influenza Prevention and Control to discuss measures to prevent, control and wipe out bird flu infection, with vaccinations being of highest priority.

At the meeting, Hoang Van Nam, head of the Animal Health Department, said that bird flu virus has now spread to the North, Central and Central Highlands.

Vaccination has been the best way to fight against bird flu in Vietnam for the past few years; however, the country faces a shortage of vaccines. Plus, the bird flu disease is getting more complicated since the virus has mutated to a more resistant strain.

During the past several years, the H5N1-Re 5 vaccine was used to vaccinate poultry in the country, but since the appearance of sub-clade 2.3.2, the vaccine has been found to be ineffective, Nam said.

China, which has also been affected by sub-clade 2.3.2, has studied a new specific vaccine, H5N1-Re 6, but the Chinese authorities have yet to allow the production of the vaccine.

Nam said in the absence of a new specific vaccine, both China and Vietnam must continue to use H5N1-Re 5 to vaccinate their poultry.

The department will import 100 million of H5N1-Re 5 vaccines to prevent and control the disease. Vaccines are expected to reach Vietnam by the end of February.

Due to the seriousness and complications of this outbreak, along with unfavourable weather conditions, Minister Phat called on authorities across the country to tighten control over H5N1 virus to prevent a possible spread of the disease.

To control the problem and minimise other occurrences of the disease as well as protect people’ health, Minister Phat has asked related authorities and agencies to collaborate with the People’s Committees in all provinces and cities to examine disease control measures in areas of high risk.

In addition, local veterinary centres are requested to cooperate with health officials, local authorities and organisations to closely monitor every water fowl breeding farm as well as keep an eye on field-running ducks, poultry, slaughterhouses, chicken and duck traders in order to discover and dispose of infected birds in time.

According to a report from the Steering Committee for Avian Influenza Prevention and Control, since the beginning of this year bird flu virus has reappeared in 11 provinces and cities across the country.

The virus has infected over 12,000 poultry in the country. 34,000 heads of poultry have been destroyed and two people have died as the H5N1 virus has spread quite rapidly.

Sai Gob Giai Phong - February 19, 2012