Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has sent an urgent message asking local authorities to double efforts to control outbreaks of bird flu in 11 provinces across the country.

The Prime Minister asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and leaders of provinces and central-level cities to mobilise human resources to boost inspections of slaughterhouses, transport of poultry and marketplaces to ensure food safety.

Relevant authorities must also take responsibility for ensuring a prompt response to any new outbreaks, culling affected poultry and vaccinating unaffected birds, said Dung.

In response to the message, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said the ministry's Animal Health Department will keep cooperating with localities to curb the disease and import vaccines that could effectively protect poultry from new strains of the virus.

Dam Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the department, said 50 million doses of vaccine H5N1 Re-5 will be imported.

He said in the meantime, the department's officers are continuing to test other types of vaccines recently introduced on the international market.

Dung also urged leaders of provinces and cities to work with the Ministry of Health and the National Steering Committee on Human Flu Prevention on ensuring humans are safe from avian influenza.

He asked the Minister of Health to implement surveillance measures to ensure early detection and treatment for people exposed to H5N1, while also working to prevent transmission of the disease.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, there are outbreaks of bird flu in the six northern provinces of Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Bac Giang, Thai Nguyen, Ha Nam and Quang Ninh, with the latter province seeing the most recent outbreak. The four central provinces of Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri and Quang Nam , and the southern province of Soc Trang , have also seen recent outbreaks of bird flu.

Two people have died due to bird flu since the beginning of the year./.