HANOI, Dec. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- Vietnam has just faced two new outbreaks of bird flu which either killed or led to the forced culling of more than 850 fowls in the southern province of Ca Mau, the local newspaper Labor reported Wednesday.
Samples from fowl raised in a commune and a ward in the province were tested positive on Monday to the bird flu virus strain of H5. Relevant local agencies have culled the two flocks and sprayed chemicals around the affected areas.
The agencies also informed raisers in Ca Mau of the situation so that they can actively take preventive measures. The farmers currently keep more than 250,000 fowls, mainly chickens and ducks on their farms.
The bird flu situation is getting serious, since Vietnam discovered one outbreak just last month, and the country is facing potential outbreaks in the northern region this winter when cold weather makes it easy for the disease to spread.
"Bird flu could likely reoccur in northern provinces unless all relevant agencies at all levels timely take drastic measures to prevent the disease. The weather is favorable for the development of bird flu now, and poultry transport and consumption are on the increase," said Bui Quang Anh, director of Vietnam's Department of Animal Health, on Tuesday.
Steering boards for bird flu prevention and control in localities nationwide should make regular inspection tours of villages and communes to promptly detect and prevent the spread of the disease, while disinfecting poultry farms and affected areas, he said.
He added that strict control over poultry transport and slaughter should be enhanced, especially during the Lunar New Year Festival which falls on early February 2005.
The department said outbreaks happened in seven wards and communes of six southern localities between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20, killing and leading to the forced culling of nearly 11,000 fowls. It noted that samples from affected poultry were tested positive to H5.
In late March 2004, Vietnam declared an end to the bird flu that had killed 17 percent of its poultry population and claimed 16 human lives during the previous outbreak starting in December 2003. A total of 43.2 million fowls nationwide either died or were culled, causing direct losses of 1.3 trillion Vietnamese dong (82.8 million US dollars) to the local poultry industry. Enditem