Vietnam has temporarily banned the granting of import licences to US poultry products as of May 1 due to a bird flu outbreak in the US.

The Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development urged relevant agencies across the country to strictly inspect batches of poultry meat imported from the North American market.

Contracts signed before May 1 already on their way to Vietnam will be allowed to clear customs after undergoing strict health quarantine inspections, according to the department.

Vietnam imported over 34,000 tonnes of frozen chicken from the US in the first quarter of this year, an annual rise of 46 percent.

Bird flu is spreading among wild birds, chickens and turkeys across much of the US, including 13 states suffering from the worst outbreak of the disease in the past three decades.

Since December 2014, cases of the highly pathogenic H5 avian influenza virus have spread through 16 states in the Midwest and western parts of the country as well as some parts of Canada, infecting nearly seven million birds, according to the US Department of Agriculture.-VNA