HANOI, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked relevant state agencies and localities nationwide to intensified fights against bird flu amid recent new outbreaks of bird flu among humans and fowls, according to local newspaper People on Monday.
Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and chairman of Vietnam's Anti-Bird flu Steering Committee, on Feb. 17 instructed local news agencies to raise public awareness about the danger of bird flu, advising residents not to eat dead, sick or non-quarantined fowls, and not throw dead poultry to improper places.
Phat asked local sectors and authorities to focus on keeping close surveillance on poultry-related areas to prevent bird flu from recrudescing, and timely detect new outbreaks of bird flu. They were also required to strictly control ducks freely raised infields, vaccinate new flocks of fowls, and ensure sufficient amounts of staff, finance and equipment in preparedness for potential outbreaks.
The minister urged relevant sectors to frequently inspect and manage the transport, trade, slaughtering and consumption of poultry and related products. Besides, he asked bird flu-bit provinces to immediately establish working teams to coordinate with grassroots levels in preventing further spread of the disease.
Vietnam has reported four human cases of bird flu infections, including three fatalities since the beginning of this year, raising the total number of cases to 105, including 50 deaths, since the disease started to hit the country in December 2003.
However, the World Health Organization, on Feb. 15, confirmed only 103 cases of bird flu infections, including 49 fatalities in Vietnam. It has yet to confirm the two latest cases, including one fatality.
Vietnam currently has four localities having poultry being hit by bird flu: northern Thai Nguyen, central Quang Binh province, northern Quang Ninh province and southern Long An province, the Department of Animal Health under the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said Feb. 17.