Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vietnam - New highly toxic avian flu virus spreads to Vietnam

As avian flu rages through at least seven provinces, health experts have confirmed that a new strain of avian flu virus that was found in China two months ago has appeared in Vietnam.

The new strain, C, which has been detected through epidemic investigations, is highly toxic and therefore extremely deadly, Diep Kinh Tan, Health Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at a meeting held by the National Steering Committee for Avian Flu Prevention and Control yesterday to review the epidemic situation.

The C strain has recently spread to Vietnam and is now present in affected areas in seven provinces and cities, namely Hai Phong, Ha Tinh, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Kan, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ngai, said Hoang Van Nam, head of the Veterinary Department.

As the new strain is different from the A/H5N1 virus, the ministry has pushed to conduct experiments and tests to confirm if the vaccines that are being used to combat A/H5N1 are also effective against the new strain.

If the existing medication is ineffective, studies on new vaccines against the new strain should be conducted soon, Tan said, adding that he has asked the Veterinary Department to isolate the virus for this purpose.

The Central Veterinary Diagnosis Center is also monitoring and looking into the new strain to help find a specific medication against it.

181,000 poultry dead

The avian flu has so far this year severely impacted the seven above-mentioned provinces and cities, with more than 181,000 ducks and chicken having died or been culled, the Veterinary Department reported.

Most of these provinces are involved in smuggling poultry from China that might have carried pathogens that were then spread to domestic poultry, the department said.

Therefore, Tan asked all provinces to both prevent the disease and tighten controls over poultry slaughtering, transportation and trade to detect affected animals.

Among these provinces, Quang Ngai declared an epidemic of avian flu on September 1 after the disease had spread to five districts, with nearly 58,000 infected ducks and chickens having died or been culled.


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