Viet Nam News
HCM City – Mekong Delta provinces face a threat of H5N1 bird flu with the disease season just starting and farmers leaving their ducks to freely feed in fields following the completion of the winter-spring rice harvest.
Besides, there have been breakouts in many areas already and the disease is highly contagious.
In the middle of January the Hậu Giang Province Veterinary and Husbandry Sub-Department found and culled around 800 ducks with H5N1 in Long Mỹ town’s Long Trị A Commune.
Their owner, Nguyễn Văn Thành, had bought them in neighbouring Vĩnh Long Province and vaccinated them against H5N1, but to no avail, losing over VNĐ12 million in the process. It is not known why the vaccination did not work.
In late January Bạc Liêu Province’s Veterinary and Husbandry Sub-Department found and culled 1,700 diseased chickens in Vĩnh Phú Đông Commune, Phước Long district.
Authorities in both places disinfected a radius of 1km from the outbreak spots and vaccinated all poultry there.
But they have an unenviable task since after the rice harvest most farmers let their poultry freely roam the fields, increasing their chances of contracting the disease.
“Despite the fact we have been able to control the disease so far, the province and the Mekong Delta in general must maintain a high level of vigilance,” Trương Ngọc Trưng, head of Hậu Giang Province’s Veterinary and Husbandry Sub-Department, told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper.
The sub-department has stepped up oversight in places near the disease breakout area and encouraged farmers to vaccinate their birds.
The most worrying thing is that H5N1 has similar symptoms as normal flu, except for some minor differences like continuous fever over 39 degrees Census, headache, and stomachache and vomiting in some cases, and sore eyes and breathing difficulty in case of a severe incidence.
Nguyễn Văn Lành, director of the province Preventive Health Centre, said, “Farmers should wear protective suits when taking care of poultry.
“People should only buy food authorised by related authorities or choose healthy poultry that show no signs of illness.”
There are 2 million heads of poultry in Hậu Giang, and it is a common sight to see thousands of birds moved from one commune to another and from one district to another during the harvest season. -- VNS