The northern mountainous bordering province of Lao Cai declared an outbreak of A/H5N1 avian influenza in its Bao Thang district on February 15.

The disease was spotted at a farming house of a family in Phu Thinh village, Bao Thang district, who neglected preventive measures for their poultry, whose origin was unidentified.

Other districts, namely Bao Yen, Bac Ha, Bat Xat, Van Ban, Sa Pa, Muong Khuong and Lao Cai city, were placed on alert.

An urgent request was promptly issued asking other localities to intensify inspections at areas prone to the disease, including the places once hit by the virus.

Bao Thang district authorities were ordered to immediately cull the contracted poultry, disinfect the affected areas, and set up mobile teams to suspend the transport of fowl and fowl products to and from the flu-hit zone.

On February 14, a Prime Minister dispatch was sent to ministries, top-level agencies and localities, asking them to make every effort in the fight against avian influenza.

It emphasised an urgent need to establish inspection teams to promote anti-bird flu efforts at localities, especially those vulnerable to the disease in the northern region.

Poultry breeders and traders were called to be well aware of hygiene requirements, disinfection procedures and safety breeding models in order to lessen the risks of infection and virus outbreaks.

The dispatch noted that the transportation and marketing of untreated poultry and poultry products of Chinese origin are prohibited.

According to the World Health Organisation, A/H7N9 avian influenza struck 147 people in mainly China and Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2013, leading to 47 deaths. Vietnam’s neighbour China has, so far this year, reported 190 new cases, including 19 deaths.

In Vietnam, A/H5N1 hit several localities, killing two persons in the southern provinces of Binh Phuoc and Dong Thap.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has warned there is a high risk that A/H7N9 would penetrate Vietnam through northern provinces and those that market illegally imported poultry of unidentified origin.-VNA