The Ministry of Health has urged all provinces and cities nationwide to intensify measures preventing influenza viruses and diseases amid the approaching Lunar New Year holiday, a move triggered by reports of avian flu outbreaks in some localities.

Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Animal Health Department said influenza virus strain A type H5N1 was recorded on a flock of poultry in three communes of the Mekong Delta provinces of Tra Vinh and Vinh Long. Meanwhile, virus A/H5N6 affected quails in Tinh Ha commune, Son Tinh district, the central province of Quang Ngai.

Avian flu virus A/H7N9 has been raging in China since 2013, especially in winter-spring months.

Surge in food purchasing power will occur in preparations for the Lunar New Year holiday, which will fall in late February next year, and will the trade, transport, and slaughter of unsafe poultry. Additionally, respiratory and digestive diseases are also likely to mushroom during the time due to the humid weather, the MARD warned.

The Ministry of Health, therefore, asked localities to pay special attention to rural and remote areas as well as the localities affected by influenza viruses in the past.

Local health departments must tighten supervision at communities and border gates and gear up for flu prevention and patient treatment.

They were also required to step up food safety inspection and strictly punish markets, food stores, restaurants, and collective kitchens which violate relevant regulations.-VNA