Veterinary officials confirmed the spread of bird flu to an 11th province in Vietnam’s southern Mekong Delta, as the government urged heightened vigilance against the re-emergence of the dangerous virus, an official said Tuesday.
Veterinary officials confirmed the spread of bird flu to an 11th province in Vietnam’s southern Mekong Delta, as the government urged heightened vigilance against the re-emergence of the dangerous virus, an official said Tuesday.Long An province is the latest area where the H5N1 virus – which jumped from poultry to humans earlier this year, killing 24 people in Vietnam and Thailand – has staged a comeback, said Hoang Van Nam, head of the epidemiology section of the Veterinary Department.To date, more than 50,000 birds have died or been culled in the 11 provinces in the most recent wave of outbreaks since the virus resurfaced in the country after Vietnam declared itself free of bird flu at the end of March.Earlier this month, the disease killed more than 1,000 chickens in Long An province. Since then, some 4,000 chickens at two farms have been culled as a precaution to halt the spread of the virus.Bird flu has also re-emerged in China, Thailand and Indonesia over the past month.”The danger of bird flu recurrence and (of it) spreading further remains high,” Nam said. He attributed the heightened concern to unchecked poultry being smuggled into Vietnam and migratory birds that might carry N5H1 from country to country.Long An, a major poultry breeding area in the Mekong Delta just 60 kilometres southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, was the first place that reported bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam late last year.It was one of the worst hit by the epidemic, which eventually spread to 57 of the country’s 64 provinces. More than 43 million poultry died or were culled in Vietnam.The virus also jumped to humans, killing 16 people here and another eight in Thailand.In February, 17 million birds in the Fraser Valley in British Columbia were slaughtered in efforts to stamp out the disease. (Source: Canadian Press, July 2004)