HA NOI (VNS) — Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam yesterday called for increased vigilance this year in preventing disease outbreaks among livestock and poultry, especially those that can be transmitted to humans.
He was speaking at a meeting held yesterday to review disease prevention and control work in the meat industry in 2014 and set the agenda for this year.
Pham Van Dong, head of the Animal Health Department under the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry (MARD), said about 100 disease/epidemic hotspots are identified every year on average, and the number of fowls that have to be culled after being infected by diseases can reach 200,000.
Last year, the H5N1 avian influenza strain broke out in 158 communes in 33 provinces. The white spot disease, acute hepatopancreatic necrosis syndrome, and environmental pollution impacted over 59,500 hectares of brackish-water shrimp ponds.
So far, 21 cities and provinces nationwide have developed strategies to control possible epidemic threats and outbreaks, he said.
While avian influenza and blue-ear disease hotbeds have been brought under control, foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks have hit six communes in the northern mountainous province of Son La.
The agriculture ministry is concerned that the disease can ravage the northern mountainous area if local authorities fail to exert greater control on livestock smuggling.
A bird-flu outbreak can happen in the Mekong Delta this year, especially around breeding areas and wet markets, the meeting heard.
Dong said that as Tet (Lunar New Year) approaches, his department would continue maintaining epidemic-free breeding zones and inspecting units at the grassroots level to facilitate early detections of any violations.
He admitted that the veterinary network capacity and breeding skills of farmers are yet to meet expectations.
Delegates at the conference agreed on the need to increase awareness of dangers as well as preventive measures among farmers and local authorities.
Deputy Minister Tam said all animal health staff at local levels should be proactive in disease prevention work, and co-ordinate their activities well with farmers and local authorities.
The animal health sector must also increase efforts to teach safe practices in raising cattle and poultry, he said. — VNS