|Veterinary staff vaccinate birds in Phong Dien District, Can Tho City. Southern provinces agreed to try and control the spread of avian flu and ensure poultry products transported to HCM City for consumption are safe. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City and seven southern provinces yesterday agreed to improve co-operation to prevent and control the spread of avian flu as well as to ensure that all poultry products transported to HCM City for consumption, are safe.
The seven provinces are Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Long An, Tien Giang, Tay Ninh, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. They are the main suppliers of poultry meat and eggs to HCM City.
Speaking at the meeting organised in HCM City yesterday, Phan Xuan Thao, head of the HCM City Veterinary Sub-department, said "the city will increase tests on samples of poultry transported to HCM City for consumption, especially in high risk areas."
"If the tests are positive for bird flu, we will inform the provincial veterinary sub-department," Thao said.
In addition, he asked provinces to increase testing of poultry samples from the breeding phase through to transporting and slaughtering, to ensure a safe supply of poultry products.
The department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Tien Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces, said many poultry traders are transporting their livestock on the HCM –Trung Luong and HCM –Long Thanh-Dau Giay express-way, to avoid going through animal quarantine stations on the old roads, making it hard for localities to track them.
HCM City and the surrounding provinces should have the measures to check poultry at gateways to HCM City, they said.
Nguyen Phuoc Trung, director of the HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the department needed the co-operation of road traffic police to help it conduct animal quarantine at gateways to the city.
Participants at the meeting agreed to enhance information exchange between the city and provinces, as well as between provinces, to enable the prevention and control of the disease more effectively.
Mai Van Hiep, deputy head of the Veterinary Department, said that so far the H5N1 bird flu had spread to 20 provinces with more than 60,000 poultry incinerated.
Cold weather, lack of vaccination against the disease at many localities, as well as apathy about the disease among the relevant local agencies and breeders, were among the main reasons leading to the spread of the disease, he said.
In addition, development of a new bird flu strain also reduced the effectiveness of the vaccine, he said.
He suggested provinces that are now free from the disease, buy vaccines to inject their poultry.
Information on how to deal with infected poultry was also needed to prevent breeders from throwing dead poultry into river, he said.
If localities did not have effective control measures, the disease might spread to all provinces, he said. — VNS