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Blue-ear disease, avian flu pose rising threat to farms

Update: February, 27/2013 - 07:22

Blue-ear disease, avian flu pose rising threat to farms

Animal health personnel in the central province of Quang Tri cull pigs infected with blue-ear disease. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau

HA NOI (VNS)— Four provinces nation-wide are taking urgent measures to curb blue-ear disease, which has infected around 5,000 pigs over the past months.

Provinces with blue-ear pig diseases are Bac Lieu and Long An in the south and Quang Nam and Quang Tri in the central region.

Bird flu has been reported in Quang Nam Province's Phu Ninh District, resulting in 300 chickens being culled on Sunday.

The lethal H5N bird flu virus has also affected 350 schools in northern mountainous Dien Bien Province earlier last week.

Health officials warn that people are likely to contract bird flu if they have close contact with sick poultry, including slaughtering and eating them.

The virus claimed 61 lives in Viet Nam between 2003 to this year, with most of the deaths in 2003 and 2004, according to the World Health Organisation's latest report

Local animal health departments have co-operated with authorised agencies to destroy infected pigs, spray chemicals to sterilise pig farms and nearby areas, vaccinate against blue-ear pig disease for healthy pigs, and advise pig breeders not to slaughter, transport and trade infected pigs.

Nguyen Thanh Nam, head of central Quang Nam Province's Animal Health Department, said a mobile team was set up to inspect and deal with slaughtering, transporting and trading pigs and pig products round the clock.

It was estimated that more than 4,200 of 500,000 pigs in the province had contracted the disease, he said.

Meanwhile, up till last night 680 pigs were reported to be infected with blue-ear pig disease within one week in central Quang Tri Province.

Pigs of unclear origin raised by local breeders have been blamed for the outbreak.

The province has distributed 18,600 vaccines against blue-ear pig disease to bring the situation under control.

Scientists say blue ear disease does not infect humans but can reduce the immunity of pigs, creating favourable condition for dangerous bacteria to grow, including Streptococcus.

Streptococcus disease can spread from pigs to humans and cause septicemia and meningitis.— VNS

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