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Bird flu scare prompts MARD to take action

Update: February, 14/2014 - 09:30

Viet Nam yesterday banned smuggled poultry from entering four northern provinces following the H7N9 bird flu situation in southern China.— Photo ndh

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam yesterday banned smuggled poultry from entering four northern provinces following the H7N9 bird flu situation in southern China.

Pham Van Dong, head of the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said three cases of H7N9 had been detected in Guangzhou.

Officials from the agriculture ministry held an emergency meeting yesterday to monitor the situation.

Dong said H7N9 was easily transmitted from fowls to humans and was deadly. He added that it was usually detected in smuggled poultry.

The ministry will co-ordinate with relevant departments of the trade and defence ministries and the police to try and prevent the virus entering the country.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said the number of infections of H7N9 could rise fast. Poultry infected usually did not show any clear symptoms and could spread easily the virus, he added.

He has asked all localities to step up preventative measures and to increase the awareness of residents, especially those in the northern border area.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, more than 300kg of smuggled poultry was seized while being transported from China to northern border Cao Bang Province.

Nong Van Bang and Lam Van Quyen, both residents of Tra Linh District, were detained for smuggling the birds on to Cao Bang on motorbikes.

They were fined VND3 million (US$150) each and the poultry was destroyed.

Central Da Nang City has arranged for fowls to be vaccinated across the city. It has 400,000 head of poultry and eight main slaughterhouses. To ensure food safety, all small abattoirs will be closed by February 28.

Drastic measures have also been carried out in the southern province of Dong Nai to try and prevent all strains of avian influenza.

The head of the provincial Animal Health Department, Tran Van Quang, said there could be a disaster if the flu broke out in the province, which has nearly 12 million chickens.

Two H5N1 deaths were reported in January, but no H7N9 cases have come to light so far, according to the Health Ministry.

Officials in central Khanh Hoa Province yesterday reported that a 30-year-old from Nha Trang City died from the A/H1N1 virus. He was admitted to the hospital on February 5 and was tested positive for the virus on February 11. — VNS

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