Bird flu contained for now, but scientists expect return
|Thirty three communes in five provinces — Dien Bien, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Tay Ninh, and Vinh Long — were hit by the A/H5N1 bird flu, according to the department.—VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY (VNS)— The bird flu outbreak that began early this year in six provinces is under control but likely to return, the Animal Health Department said yesterday.
Thirty three communes in five provinces — Dien Bien, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Tay Ninh, and Vinh Long — were hit by the A/H5N1 bird flu, according to the department.
Around 61,700 birds were culled.
H5N1 also infected swallows in central Ninh Thuan Province in March, resulting in nearly 10,000 swallows being culled.
But in May the province announced the epidemic had ended.
Last year 71 communes in 20 provinces had reported outbreaks in the first half, and 30 per cent more poultry had to be culled.
But Pham Van Dong, head of the department, expected the disease to rear its head again soon, saying: "The return of A/H5N1 outbreaks would be scattered in the areas that were hit by the disease."
However, all 2,554 samples taken from smuggled and low-quality poultry — both live and dead — tested negative for the A/H7N9 virus, he told a conference held in HCM City yesterday.
Some 140 livestock markets in 44 cities and provinces are kept under surveillance for poultry and animal diseases, he said.
Thus, foot-and-mouth and blue-ear diseases in pigs are also under control, he said.
Only Phu Yen and Dak Lak Provinces have reported the two diseases in the last 21 days.
But the department is wary of foot-and-mouth outbreaks in the next few months due to cattle smuggling from Laos and Cambodia.
Blue-ear disease is also expected to spread in a wide arc in the upcoming period in the south besides some endemic areas.
More than 600 heads of cattle hit by foot-and-mouth disease in six provinces were culled in the first six months.
Blue-ear disease killed more than 25,000 pigs in 12 provinces during the period. — VNS