Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bird flu spreads in southern Vietnam

Another Vietnamese province has reported a bird flu outbreak, bringing the number of provinces to six since December, all in the southern Mekong Delta.

Authorities in Tra Vinh said Friday that the H5N1 strain of the virus had been discovered after 800 ducks had died in Ngoc Ho hamlet of Cau Ke district.

The lethal strain killed 42 people in Vietnam between 2003 and 2005.

The five other provinces that have reported a recurrence of the epidemic are Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Hau Giang, Vinh Long, and Kien Giang.

The agriculture ministry’s Animal Health Department said no new cases had been found in two thirds of the affected communes for at least 10 days now.

Over 2 million fowl had been vaccinated as of Friday in the country’s latest vaccination campaign.

Inspection teams had been sent to provinces and cities across the country to reinforce preventive measures.

New vaccine

Hans Troedsson, head of the World Health Organization office in Hanoi, said: “There is no effective vaccine for ducks; that’s why bird flu has reemerged in southern Vietnam, mostly among ducks.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was supporting Vietnam in testing a new vaccine for ducks.

A joint mission with representatives from the WHO, FAO, and the Vietnamese ministries of health and agriculture was monitoring the fight against the epidemic in newly affected provinces.

Source: Thanh Nien

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