HA NOI (VNS) — Authorities must crack down on illegal smuggling of poultry to prevent avian influenza from spreading throughout the country, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has ordered.
In provinces bordering China, strict supervision must be provided to animal quarantines, while poultry originating from countries infected with the avian influenza are to be tested for the virus before they are imported into Viet Nam, according to the Minister's directive, which was adopted on Friday.
In addition, poultry in areas which are highly vulnerable to bird flu are to be vaccinated, following directions provided by the Department of Animal Health, said Van Dang Ky, head of the department's epidemic section.
"Despite the fact that no case of avian influenza has been recorded in Viet Nam until now, there is still a high risk in the near future of disease outbreaks in the country, especially in provinces where a large number of cases involving the illegal smuggling of chickens have occurred, as Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Ha Noi, and Hai Phong", Ky said.
The Ministry of Information and Communication is also required to direct its units to work at local levels to provide the public with information about the harmful effects of avian influenza, warn them not to eat sick or dead poultry, and ask the public to inform authorities about any deaths of poultry or any outbreaks of avian flu.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Ngan, 41, a farmer from the northern Thai Binh Province's Dong Hung District, said she heard about the Minister's directive, which was broadcast over loudspeakers on her commune.
"I have already gotten chickens vaccinated to prevent the virus", she said, stressing that she would inform local authorities in case poultry becomes infected with the virus.
So far this year, cases of H7N9 avian flu among humans have been recorded in 12 provinces in China, including among 140 people, of whom 47 have died.
There have also been two H7N9 flu patients in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Zone and another flu victim in Taiwan.—VNS