HCM CITY (VNS) — Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam yesterday said that no new outbreaks of avian flu had occurred in the country and that poultry and cattle diseases were under control.
The latest outbreak of avian flu was detected in Ben Tre Province's Mo Cay Nam District on March 21.
The ministry reported that 33 provinces and cities have been affected by avian flu, with more than 211,000 poultry affected, mostly on small breeding farms.
Last year, the avian flu outbreaks occurred in only five provinces.
This year, the avian flu virus spread because local animal health divisions and government agencies discovered the cases too late, and the vaccination of poultry was not strictly monitored.
In addition, some local leaders did not allocate budgets for their vaccination programme for poultry.
Tam said that they waited too long to take action. "It was too late."
Tam asked local animal health divisions and agencies to carefully check whether agencies and others are giving the vaccinations, and to take preventive measures to protect poultry. In addition, he said they should take samples to test for viruses and the effectiveness of vaccines in order to detect new clades of the H5N1 influenza virus. This information would help them decide whether to use a new vaccine.
Pham Van Dong, head of the Animal Health Department, said that the clade 126.96.36.199 of the bird flu virus, which was the main cause of the flu in the northern provinces, was responsible for the virus's spread in Mekong Delta provinces and cities this year.
These provinces and cities were advised to use H5N1 Re-6 vaccine to prevent the outbreaks, Dong said.
Moreover, free-range poultry breeding, which allows disease to spread more easily, should be under more strict control, he said.
Foot-and-mouth disease among cattle has also been contained, Dong said, adding that the provinces of Ha Tinh, Yen Bai and Kon Tum were the only areas where cases remained.
He warned that outbreaks could occur again in provinces and cities in the northern and north-central mountainous region or the Central Highlands in the remaining months of the year.
Agencies in these provinces and cities should continue to control the spread of the disease as well as trading and transport of cattle without labels of origin, he said.
Along with avian flu, no new blue-ear disease cases among pigs have been detected in the country over the last nine months, Dong said, adding that the JXA1-R vaccine remained an effective deterrent. — VNS