By Bui Minh Long
HANOI, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- With three provinces hit by bird flu now, Vietnam
is on high alert to the possible outbreaks of the disease among both poultry and
humans, according to a local veterinary agency on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has urged cities and
provinces nationwide to maintain close surveillance on poultry farms and
transport, especially cross-border transport of live fowls, their fresh organs
and eggs, during the approaching Lunar New Year Festival which starts on Feb. 6,
its Department of Animal Health said.
Bird flu case were found in two northern provinces of Thai Nguyen and Tuyen
Quang and the central province of Quang Binh.
Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and chairman of
Vietnam's Anti-Bird flu Steering Committee, in late January asked sectors and
localities nationwide to assign officials and specialists to go to grassroots
levels to timely detect potential bird flu outbreaks right at households, and
intensify vaccination against bird flu viruses among fowls.
Vietnam will import additional 500 million doses of bird flu vaccines for
poultry nationwide this year, the department said.
The country, which imports bird flu vaccines for fowls mainly from China
and the Netherlands, plans to mass produce the vaccines in the coming time,
according to sources from some local animal health institutes.
The agriculture minister asked relevant state cadres and farmers to
frequently disinfect poultry farms, egg incubators, slaughterhouses and
wholesale markets, because cold weather conditions would help the growth of bird
flu viruses, including the deadly strain H5N1.
He also urged relevant forces to strengthen animal quarantine and
management over cross-border transport of fowls and related products.
Local media should disseminate information about bird flu preventive
measures and residents are advised not to slaughter and eat sick or dead
poultry, dishes made from fresh fowl blood, and undercooked eggs, he added.
After detecting the latest human bird flu case in mid-January, the
Vietnamese Ministry of Health established 69 mobile anti-bird flu teams in all
64 cities and provinces, tasked to timely detect suspected cases, and provide
relevant bird flu medicines and protective gears to the localities.
The Health Ministry confirmed that the latest case was a 32-year-old ethnic
man from northern Tuyen Quang who died on Jan. 18.Before showing bird flu
symptoms, he slaughtered and ate dead fowls raised by his family for meal.
After detecting no human cases of bird flu infections for nearly four
months, the ministry confirmed that a four-year-old boy from northern Son La
province died from bird flu on Dec. 16, 2007.
Vietnam has confirmed a total of 102 human cases of bird flu infections,
including 48 fatalities, in 34 cities and provinces since the disease first
struck the country in December 2003.
According to a report dated Feb. 1 of the World Health Organization, there
has been so far a total of 357 human cases of bird flu infections, including 225
deaths, in 14 countries, mainly in Asia. Indonesia topped of the list with 124
cases and 102 fatalities, followed by Vietnam.