H5N1 and H5N6 bird flu outbreaks are spreading in Quang Ngai and Bac Lieu province. Tens of thousands of fowls have been culled over the past two weeks. Relevant agencies are taking steps to contain the outbreak.
Two H5N6 bird flu outbreaks have been reported in Quang Ngai city and Duc Pho district.
Poultry farmers in the infected areas have been provided with disinfectant and clear instructions. Relevant agencies in Quang Ngai province have cleaned infected areas.
Bac Lieu province has reported 5 H5N1 bird flu cases and culled 4,500 birds. Local agencies are taking necessary measures to contain the outbreak.
Lam Chi Trung, Head of the Animal Health Station of Phuoc Long district, Bac Lieu province said “We told farmers how to clean their farms, cull sick birds, and spray disinfectant. We also vaccinated the bird flocks using vaccines provided by the province.”
The Ministry of Health has asked cities and provinces to take necessary disease control measures, strictly deal with illegal cross-border trade of poultry and prevent the trading of poultry without proof of origin.
The Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Department have been requested to make prompt reports of outbreaks and increase surveillance of birds. In case of contact with sick or dead birds, samples should be collected for testing and isolation and treatment measures need to be applied.
Mr. Vu Ngoc Long, Head of the Border Disease Control Section of the Preventive Medicine Department of the Ministry of Health said “Don’t eat poultry that are not thoroughly processed.
Wash your hands with soap to prevent being infected by sick poultry. Buy only chickens or chicken products with clear proof of origin”.
Border areas on alert for bird flu
Customs officials of Quảng Ninh Province seize smuggled chickens in Móng Cái City.
The Ministry of Health has ordered provinces and cities across the country to urgently conduct appropriate measures to prevent the entry of the A/H7N9 virus, commonly known as bird flu.
Localities, especially border provinces between Việt Nam and China, have been required to crack down on the transportation, trade and slaughter of poultry and poultry products without quarantine and clear origins.
Việt Nam is on high alert after the bird flu strain A/H7N9 caused more than 100 deaths in neighbouring China, the Thanh Niên (Young People) online newspaper reported.
The ministry also recommends that citizens avoid poultry and poultry products without quarantine and clear origins, including frozen chicken.
Trần Đắc Phu, head of the General Department of Preventative Medicine warned people that infected frozen chicken and chicken eggs could still transmit the A/H7N9 virus to humans.
Price of chicken
The price of chicken has decreased in some provinces, causing trouble for poultry farmers and breeders, as well as concerns of illegal chicken imports from China.
In Bình Dương Province, the owner of a chicken farm in Bến Cát District said a kilo of live chicken now cost about VNĐ25,000 (US$1.1).
The price was VNĐ37,000 ($1.6) before Tết (Lunar New Year), even reaching VNĐ42,000 ($1.8) per kilo at times, he said.
The price for a kilo of a white-feather chicken was also down from VNĐ22,000 ($1) to VNĐ17,000 ($0.74), he said.
In HCM City, the owner of a chicken farm in Hóc Môn District said frozen chicken was for sale in rural markets with a retail price of VNĐ22,000 ($1) per kilo of chicken leg or breast, whereas it was previously between VNĐ28,000 to 30,000 ($1.2-1.3) per kilo.
According to farmers in the two provinces of Đồng Nai and Bình Dương, the reduction in demand for chicken meat after Tết was blamed on health concerns. Additionally, a large number of frozen chickens being sold at bargain prices at rural markets also exacerbated the problem.
Nguyễn Đăng Vang, chairman of the Animal Husbandry Association of Việt Nam, said we were facing a high risk that chickens from China’s bird-flu affected areas were being illegally imported into Việt Nam via unofficial channels.
Statistics from the association showed that about 100,000 tonnes of ‘waste’ chickens are still illegally imported into Việt Nam via unofficial channels each year, he said.
‘Waste’ chickens are only fit for livestock feed. However, these chickens were still found to have been brought into Việt Nam and sold on to customers.
Vang also said some companies were claiming that the poor-quality chickens were imported in order to re-export them. Thus, supervision will need to be tightened on firms engaging in such practices.
Bird flu outbreaks in neighbouring nations prompt action
An urgent meeting was held in Hanoi on February 20 to discuss measures to prevent avian influenza viruses, especially A/H7N9, which are spreading in some neighbouring countries.
Director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine Tran Dac Phu cited the World Health Organisation as saying that the A/H7N9 virus is raging in 14 provinces and cities of China with a sharp rise in incidences and a high mortality rate (about 40 percent). From October 6, 2016, to February 19 this year, China recorded 425 people with A/H7N9, mostly in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces which border Vietnam.
Last January, some hotbeds of A/H5N1 in poultry were reported in the Cambodian province of Svay Rieng, which also borders Vietnam, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
There is a high risk that these bird flu viruses will enter Vietnam, Phu said.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said avian influenza viruses, especially A/H7N9, are likely to enter Vietnam if effective preventive measures are not taken.
He asked the health sector and relevant ministries and agencies to carry out preventative measures to prepare for all circumstances. The agriculture sector should monitor poultry-related epidemics, thoroughly deal with hotbeds, and share information with health agencies.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Public Security and the border guard force need to prevent fowl smuggling and deal with illegal poultry business activities strictly.
Long also requested the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and Pasteur institutes in the central and southern regions to focus on suspected cases in localities bordering countries with bird flu outbreaks.
In 2016, Vietnam recorded A/H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in seven communes and wards of six districts and townships in Nghe An province, Ca Mau province and Can Tho city. There haven’t been any A/H5N1 outbreaks in 2017, according to the Preventive Medicine Department.
The flu viruses of A/H7N9, A/H5N8 and A/H5N1 have yet to be reported in humans in Vietnam. The A/H3N2 and A/H1N1 viruses and type B viruses are seasonal influenza viruses in the country.