Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to monitor the bird flu epidemic and keep the public updated in a recent official document.

Specifically, Nhan asked relevant ministries – including the ministries of health, public security, and industry and trade – to join hands in checking poultry products' safety and cracking down on illegal poultry transporting and trading.

The Ministry of Information and Communications was instructed to spread information that will deter people from illegally importing poultry and submit results of this assignment to the Prime Minister before the end of this month.

Nhan also asked provincial and municipal people's committees to cooperate with the Hanoi People's Committee to locate and punish violators.

Director of the MARD's Animal Health Department Pham Van Dong on March 19 said that blue-ear disease, which strikes other livestock, has spread quickly in some central provinces, including Nghe An, Quang Nam and Quang Tri. In Nghe An province, nearly 400 pigs died reportedly.

Dong blamed the spread of the disease for illegal livestock transporting and trading. He added that local authorities and animal health workers also neglected to take adequate preventive measures.

Meanwhile, deputy director of the MARD’s Livestock Breeding Department Nguyen Van Trong said that poultry prices this month have increased by 20 percent, leading small traders to use various tricks to illegally transport poultry and eggs to Hanoi.

But this practice while tempting for individual traders also raises the risk of an epidemic.
The epidemic struck more than 600 pigs in Thanh Hoa province. Nearly 200 of them were culled.

The Thanh Hoa provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development asked communal authorities to isolate sick livestock, vaccinate healthy animals and set up quarantine stations.

In the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, foot and mouth disease appeared in Don Duong district, the only one breeding dairy cows in the province.

Since the beginning of this month, more than 120 animals succumbed to the disease.-VNA