HCM City on alert against bird flu outbreaks hinh anh 1The municipal administration has asked local authorities to urgently take preventive measures against a possible A/H5N1 bird flu outbreak (Photo: sggp.org.vn)

HCM City (VNA) –The HCM City administration has asked local authorities to urgently take preventive measures against a possible A/H5N1 bird flu outbreak.

The Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has recorded 13 bird flu infections in the last 21 days at 15 households in seven provinces’ 11 communes.

Of these there was one case of A/H5N6 in the central province of Quang Ngai, and 12 cases of A/H5N1 in Nghe An, Nam Dinh, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Dong Nai provinces.

In the city, some localities have ignored the need to inspect, monitor and take preventive measures against the bird flu threat, according the HCM City People’s Committee.

There are about 160 sites in the city’s 15 districts where live poultry is illegally traded, and not closely controlled. District authorities and other agencies have been ordered to report by March 2 on what they have done to deal with trading in live poultry in their respective localities.

The city’s Department of Animal Health has been asked to take samples and evaluate the spread of bird flu in houses with birds’ nests, bird clubs, amusement parks and farms.

In the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, two cases of A/H5N1 have been recorded.

About 800 ducks were killed in Thoai Son district’s Phu My Dong commune. In Phu Tan district’s Tan Trung commune, about 80 infected chickens were killed.

The province has provided over 642,000 vaccine doses for poultry and sprayed chemicals in the infected areas and their vicinity.

Tran Tien Hiep, head of the province’s animal health department, said they have petitioned Department of Finance provide an additional two million vaccine doses.

Preventive methods

The Department of Animal Health has warned that there is a high risk of the spread of bird flu strains hitherto not seen in the country such as A/H7N9, A/H5N2 and A/H5N8 via border crossing.

The department says illegal poultry sales and transportation via border crossing is not tightly controlled in provinces sharing a border with China, and this poses a high risk of bird flu viruses entering Vietnam.

“The localities should be active in prevention and controlling the threat of bird flu outbreaks, strengthen controls, strictly tackle illegal poultry imports, and closely monitor the situation to ensure timely action against outbreaks.”

The department established 8 rapid response teams last week as the threat of an A/H7N9 bird flu outbreak increased.

On February 26, the Agriculture Ministry held a seminar on preventive measures to be taken against the spread of the A/H7N9 virus via the border in the northern province of Lang Son.-VNA