The health departments of central Quang Tri and Quang Ngai provinces have been asked to brace for the A/H5N6 bird flu virus as it was reported in the two localities.

The A/H5N6 virus has been found in the two central provinces, raising the total number of affected localities to five, confirmed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health.

The virus was detected in a poultry farm in Quang Tri province's Trung Hai commune late last month. Around 350 out of 1,500 infected ducks have died, the department said.

The virus has also killed 200 out of 1,100 infected poultry that tested positive for A/H5N6 in Quang Ngai province.

Head of Quang Tri province's animal health department Le Thi Nga said local authorities had promptly destroyed infected birds and were sterilising poultry farms to contain the virus.

The strain A/H5N6 of the influenza virus was detected for the first time in Vietnam in central Ha Tinh, and northern Lang Son and Lao Cai provinces in mid-August.

The A/H5N6 virus showed a 99 percent similarity to the bird flu virus that killed a man in China's Sichuan province in April 2014. It has also been detected in poultry in Laos.

The virus is a highly pathogenic strain, but there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission yet, according to the World Health Organisation.-VNA