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Vietnam takes urgent anti-bird flu measures

by 5m Editor
7 January 2005, at 12:00am

VIETNAM - Vietnam has just tightened management over transport and trading of poultry, and made closer surveillance on the current situation of fowl flocks nationwide, amid recent outbreaks of bird flu in its 11 localities.

Vietnam takes urgent anti-bird flu measures - VIETNAM - Vietnam has just tightened management over transport and trading of poultry, and made closer surveillance on the current situation of fowl flocks nationwide, amid recent outbreaks of bird flu in its 11 localities.

According to the Department of Animal Health, since December last year, the relapse of bird flu has been seen in 25 communes in11 localities, namely the southern city of Can Tho, the northern province of Nam Dinh and the nine southern provinces of Dong Thap,Tien Giang, Long An, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Hau Giang, Tra Vinh, Binh Phuoc and An Giang, killing and leading to the forced culling of some 28,700 fowls, mainly ducks and chickens.

Fearing that severe outbreaks of bird flu will happen during the Lunar New Year Festival ( early February), when cold weather favors the development of viruses and a larger number of fowls aretransported and traded, local veterinary forces are making closer surveillance on areas formerly hit by bird flu, covering poultry farms, markets or slaughterhouses.

They attach great importance to monitoring the transport and trade. The country's veterinarian forces nationwide, early this week, resumed a 24-hour operation to monitor transport and trade, which was applied in early 2004 when bird flu was at peak period in the country. Veterinarian cadres are to go deep into wards and hamlets to monitor poultry flocks, so that Vietnam's Department of Animal Health can have an updated report on new outbreaks and the number of dead and culled fowls everyday.

Many cities and provinces nationwide have just established hotlines, in a move to get latest news on bird flu situation. The southern city of Can Tho, which finds that nearly half of samples from ducks raised in the locality are tested positive to the bird flu virus strain of H5, has publicized such three phone numbers.

Under the department's recent instruction, transport of poultry with large volume must get approval from local veterinary agencies,and more quarantine checkpoints along roads must be set up leading to centers of cities and provinces. The capital city of Hanoi has just established four checkpoints, raising the total to 12.

Some localities like Ho Chi Minh City even imposed stricter rules on the transport. Fowls and their eggs which are not quarantined by the agencies or carried to the city by simple means of transport, such as bicycles and motorbikes, will be confiscated and then destroyed. Besides, the city assigns veterinary cadres tobe present at all of its 59 slaughterhouses. The cadres are to inspect fowls before they are slaughtered and then packed into plastic bags.

To encourage residents to actively detect new outbreaks and prevent raisers from not selling their sick chickens, some provinces have offered cash rewards to informers and raised level of financial assistance to farmers. The northern province of Ha Tay presents 50,000-100,000 Vietnamese dong (VND) (3.2-6.4 US dollars) to each informer, while the southern province of Tien Giang gives raisers 15,000 VND (nearly one dollar) for each fowl culled, instead of 5,000 VND (0.3 dollars) as it did previously.

In addition to professional measures, Vietnam is intensifying propaganda via mass media. Local residents are urged not to throw dead fowls away, not to have direct contact with poultry, and keepfit. People with symptoms of high temperature, running nose, cough and exhaustion are advised to go to healthcare facilities as soon as possible.

In late March 2004, Vietnam declared an end to the bird flu that had killed 17 percent of its poultry population and claimed at least 21 human lives during the previous outbreak starting in December 2003. A total of 43.2 million fowls nationwide either died or were culled, causing a total loss of 1.3 trillion VND (82.8 million dollars) to the local poultry industry.

Source: Xinhua News Agency - 7th January 2005

5m Editor