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New Fatal Bird-Flu Virus Appears in Viet Nam

12 September 2012, at 12:58am

VIET NAM - A new highly-toxic avian flu virus, which can kill humans, is quickly spreading in northern and central Viet Nam, reported the National steering board for bird flu and foot-and-mouth disease prevention.

The acting head of the Veterinary Agency, Mr Hoang Van Nam, said the new virus still belongs to the 2.3.2.1 virus branch but it is different from the 2.3.2.1 virus (both A and B groups,) which caused the avian flu epidemic in Viet Nam last year.

Mr Nam said that this virus can make the avian flu epidemic to spread widely in Viet Nam in the coming time. Seven provinces in Viet Nam currently have bird flu epidemics, with more than 180,000 poultry being culled.

According to experts, the new virus type appeared in Viet Nam in July and quickly spread in the country’s northern and central regions in August. This type of virus is quite similar to virus of A group but its toxicity is much higher. The Central Veterinary Diagnosis Center is about to test the protection of current vaccine on the new virus.

Vice head of the Animal Husbandry Agency, Mr Nguyen Thanh Son said that the new virus may come from China’s disqualified chickens, which were illegally imported into Viet Nam via the border.

“Wherever Chinese disqualified chickens come, the new virus appears. It attacked both chickens and ducks,” Mr Son said.

Two weeks ago, the National steering board for bird flu and foot-and-mouth disease prevention defined that the new virus is similar to the H5N1 virus in China. The board and the Market Control Agency doubted the connection between smuggled chickens and the spread of new virus.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan asked the Animal Husbandry to strictly control the import of breeding chickens from China, because the new virus can more quickly spread from breeding chickens than from chickens for meat.

“The new fatal bird flu virus is quickly spreading and this is the big concern of the government,” Mr Tan said.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s officials asked relevant agencies to give priority to using Viet Nam’s vaccines to avoid dependence on imported products.