HANOI, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Three provinces in Vietnam have reported blue-ear disease in pigs while central Quang Nam province claimed bird flu, according to the department of animal health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday.
Localities with blue-ear pig disease are central provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Tri and southern Long An province, said the department.
It was estimated that more than 4,200 out of 500,000 pigs in Quang Nam province had been infected with the disease while some 680 pigs in Quang Tri province had contracted the disease within one week. The province has distributed 18,600 doses of vaccines against disease.
Scientists say blue-ear disease does not infect humans but can reduce the immunity of pigs, creating favorable conditions for dangerous bacteria to grow, including Streptococcus. Streptococcus disease can spread from pigs to humans and cause septicemia and meningitis.
So far, two people in Quang Nam province have died of Streptococcus.
Meanwhile, Quang Nam province also reported the bird flu disease, and 300 chickens have been culled on Sunday.
Health officials warn that people are likely to contract bird flu if they have close contact with sick poultry, including slaughtering and eating them.
The H5N1 bird flu virus has claimed 61 lives in Vietnam since 2003, with most of deaths reported in 2003 and 2004, according to the World Health Organization's latest report.
Local animal health departments have cooperated with authorized agencies to destroy infected pigs and poultries, spray chemicals to sterilize farms and nearby areas and apply vaccines.