Last update 2/10/2012 10:03:00 AM (GMT+7)

New strain of swine flu detected

VietNamNet Bridge – The Heath Ministry has quoted sources from the Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Institute confirming that a new kind of porcine flu virus, A/H3N1, has appeared, apparently a combination of the pig-related A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 flu viruses.

The medical sector has monitored 10 patients infected with the A/H3N2 virus with porcine origin, and found that three of them had not had direct contact with any diseased pigs.

Therefore, the sector has not ruled out the possibility of a mutation in the A/H3N2 strain which could lead to transmission between humans, instead of strictly from pigs to humans as previously.

However, the situation has not reached an alarming level because the virus has not changed much; it has low toxicity and has shown no sign of drug resistance.

Flu vaccines are able to cope with small changes in this kind of virus, said Le Hoang San, Vice Director of the HCMC Pasteur Institute.

* Bird flu found in two more provinces

The avian flu epidemic has recurred in the southern province of Bac Lieu and the northern province of Ha Nam.

The Bac Lieu Animal Health Department has found hundreds of fowls dead without apparent reason since early February. These fowls included more than 200 ducks in Nha Mat ward, Bac Lieu city, and another 250 ducks in Hong Dan district.

Samples taken from the dead ducks tested positive for the A/H5N1 flu virus.

Given this, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development allocated one million doses of bird flu vaccine for the local district and city.

The province has taken all necessary preventive measures to head off the epidemic, and not only in the affected areas. The local broadcasting station was asked to instruct local people on how to manage their domestic fowls and to caution them against eating blood pudding or slaughtering sick fowls.

* Meanwhile, on February 9, the Ha Nam provincial People’s Committee declared a state of bird flu epidemic in Nhat Tan commune, Kim Bang district.

The local veterinary department said more than 2,500 ducks have been found dead in a farming area in Nhat Tan commune since February 7. Samples from these ducks also tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been dispatched to the province for supervising efforts to contain the epidemic.

So far this year bird flu outbreaks have been detected in five provinces, namely Ha Nam, Bac Lieu, Thanh Hoa, Soc Trang, and Quang Tri.