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Unquarantined poultry hits markets amid bird flu risk

Update: March, 07/2012 - 10:06

 

Inspectors examine poultry at Ha Vi wholesale market in Ha Noi's Thuong Tin District. Illegal sale of unquarantined poultry poses a health risk for consumers. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI — Illegal sales of unquarantined domestic fowl and poultry products continue to take place in many Ha Noi markets despite the high risk of a bird flu reoccurrence.

These products are easy to come by at markets in Dong Da, Cau Giay, Ha Dong, Thanh Xuan and Hai Ba Trung districts, Tien Phong (Pioneers) newspaper reports.

Nguyen Thi Mai, a salesperson at the Bach Khoa market in Bach Khoa Ward, Hai Ba Trung District, told Viet Nam News that she sold nearly 100 chickens per day and said her poultry products were of high quality even though they were not quarantined by authorised agencies.

Director of the Ha Noi Animal Health Department Can Xuan Binh blamed the problem on high consumer demand and low public awareness of the bird flu.

About 450 tonnes of poultry is consumed each day in Ha Noi, nearly 30 per cent of which is imported from other provinces.

Poultry and livestock products are sold at 15 slaughterhouses and about 300 markets in the city.

The shortage of animal health inspectors was another reason for the illegal transport and sale of unquarantined poultry, Binh said.

"In order to prevent a reoccurrence of bird flu in the city, the department has strengthened surveillance and taken measures such as disseminating information about preventive measures against bird flu, setting up check-points in high-risk areas and vaccinating poultry," he said.

The department has imported 7 million doses of bird flu vaccines for reproductive poultry and supplied 7,000 litres of sterilising medicine to high risk districts.

So far, 60,500 chickens and ducks have been vaccinated.

Head of the Epidemic Bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Animal Health Department Van Dang Ky warned that there was a high risk of bird flu spreading, particularly in the northern region.

"Wet weather in northern localities like Ha Noi offers perfect conditions for the development of the H5N1 virus as it weakens resistance among fowls," he said.

"Some small pockets of bird flu were recently discovered in the capital city but all infected poultry were culled and the disease has been kept under control."

Bird flu outbreaks have been reported in 12 provinces and cities nationwide.

Bird flu case

Truong Phu Son, the third person in the country infected with avian influenza A/H5N1 this year, was discharged from HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases yesterday after undergoing intensive treatment.

The native of Thanh Hoa Province was rushed to the hospital in critical condition two weeks ago from a hospital in Binh Duong Province.

Because his lungs were seriously damaged, the hospital's doctors were pessimistic about Son's condition, saying that his health would probably deteriorate.

Dr Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, director of the hospital, said Son was close to respiratory failure when he arrived at the hospital. He was breathing rapidly and the amount of oxygen in his blood had fallen.

Hospital tests showed that Son had contracted the A/H5N1 virus. Tests showed that it was the same strain circulating in the Mekong Delta, according to doctors.

Son's health did not improve until the fifth day of treatment in the hospital.

Two other people who contracted this strain of avian influenza, one from Kien Giang Province and the other from Soc Trang Province, died earlier this year.

A day before returning home, the 22-year-old man told the press that he had not believed that he would survive.

Son said his illness began when he caught a fever on February 18. A week before that day, he had slaughtered a duck that had been given to him by someone living in the Mekong Delta.

Several other people had eaten the duck he had cooked, but did not contract the virus.

When he began getting feverish, he thought it was seasonal flu and bought medicine at the pharmacy to treat it. But when his symptoms were not relieved in three days, he visited a private health clinic.

On the fourth day, when the flu appeared more serious, Son was taken to the Army Corp No4 Hospital in Binh Duong Province and then transferred to the HCM City Hospital of Tropical Diseases.

Since 2007, 29 people in Viet Nam have contracted influenza A/H5N1, and of those 19 died. —VNS

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