Localities throughout the country should reinforce controls and inspections of poultry raising sites to prevent an outbreak of the A/H5N6 influenza virus strain, while taking preventive measures, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said.

According to Dam Xuan Thanh, head of MARD’s Department of Animal Health, influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and blue-ear disease in livestock and poultry are currently under control.

However, strain A/H5N6 of the influenza virus has now been recorded in central Ha Tinh, and northern Lang Son and Lao Cai provinces due to illegal trans-boundary poultry smuggling and recent bird migrations. This virus still poses a threat to Vietnam, he said at a national conference in Hanoi on August 26 on breeding and veterinary efforts.

Thanh stated that tests run on samples taken from poultry flocks surrounding the outbreak areas came back negative for A/H5N6.

However, he warned that controlling the spread of the virus is extremely difficult, particularly elsewhere in the world the virus has been detected in a flock of wild migratory birds.

He requested localities make sure they stock enough vaccines against the virus, recommending the domestically produced Navet vaccine.

Currently, 50 localities have submitted plans for coping with animal diseases so far, Thanh noted. He went on to push for a more active response from other provinces and cities.

Meanwhile, Hoang Thanh Van, head of MARD’s Department for Livestock Production, reported that despite difficulties on the market and outbreaks of diseases earlier this year, the livestock production sector is recovering, with a 3 percent growth rate for the first half of 2014, 1.9 percent higher than for the same period last year.

As a result, this trend could mean a 5 percent year-on-year growth rate for the entire year, he said.-VNA