Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has ordered localities nationwide, especially those in the northern border area, to intensify prevention measures against avian influenza strands H5N1 and H7N9, which are likely to spread in the coming time.

Speaking at an online meeting with localities on February 18, the minister said the dangerous virus of H7N9 have been identified in several neighbouring countries while H5N1 outbreaks have been reported in many areas in Vietnam .

He emphasised the need to prevent the strain of H7N9 from entering into Vietnam , and so asked relevant ministries to work closely with border areas to thwart cross-border poultry smugglers.

The northern province of Lang Son which shares a border line with China reported complicated developments in illegal poultry.

Over the last month, provincial border forces seized 250 kilogrammes of illegally traded chicken meat, 9,700 live chickens and 2,000 kg of pigeon.

According to Chairman of the Lang Son People’s Committee Ly Vinh Quang, the local authority has implemented a wide range of measures to contain poultry trade crossing border areas in a bid to prevent the outbreak of influenza viruses.

Lao Cai, another northern province with a 200km border line with China , is also facing the same problems while pockets of the A/H5N1 virus have appeared in the locality.

The province has enforced decontamination in areas where the epidemic has been discovered, while setting up isolated treatment areas in local hospitals in case the A/H7N9 virus may cross the border.

A range of measures to prevent the spread of bird flu have also been taken by authorities of the northern border province of Ha Giang , in the context that the H7N9 virus strain have appeared in several adjacent Chinese provinces. Q uarantine checkpoints have been set up at border localities to manage poultry trading between the two sides.

According to Head of the Veterinary Department under the ministry, Pham Van Dong, no H7N9 cases have been recorded in Vietnam so far, but H5N1 outbreaks have been reported in 11 provinces nationwide.-VNA