LAO CAI (VNS)— The health sector of the northern mountain province of Lao Cai is working closely with provincial authorities and veterinarians to eradicate the A/H5N6 avian influenza virus strain.
The avian flu strain was recently detected in a flock of red pheasants raised in Pho Lu town, making Lao Cai the third Vietnamese locality affected by A/H5N6, after the northern province of Lang Son on the border with China and the central province of Ha Tinh on the border with Laos.
Efforts have also been intensified to raise public awareness on ways to prevent the transmission of H5N6 from fowl to humans.
The Ministry of Health's Department of Preventive Medicine has recently ordered Lao Cai to prepare for the virus since it had led to a number of human deaths in China's Sichuan province.
To prevent poultry-to-human transmission of the virus, the Department has asked Lao Cai's veterinary and medical sectors to disinfect breeding grounds and closely monitor risky areas, particularly poultry farms and markets. It has also called for tighter control of and stricter sanctions on the illegal transport of poultry.
The province, which shares a 203.5-km border with China, was also asked to prepare for possible exposure to A/H5N6 and send samples taken from patients with acute respiratory diseases and pneumonia to the Ha Noi-based National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology for testing.
Viet Nam has not recorded any A/H5N6 patients so far. According to the World Health Organisation, A/H5N6 is a highly pathogenic strain, but there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission in spite of occasional reports of apparent cases of contagion within families. — VNS