Vietnam Urges Prevention of Bird Flu


2004.07.02
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Vietnam is downplaying new outbreaks of bird flu but issued an emergency order to local governments to step up efforts to prevent a major epidemic, state media said Friday.

When bird flu is detected, all poultry must be destroyed and the farms must be quarantined and decontaminated, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported. Trading and transport of poultry and poultry products would also be banned in affected areas.

Sources in Vietnam told RFA's Vietnamese service that the emergency directive was issued late Thursday and signed by Permanent Vice Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

"The recent incident when chickens died was just an echo of the last bird flu outbreak because there were still chickens from the infected flock," Bui Quang Anh, an agriculture ministry official, was quoted as saying by Tuoi Tre .

Ben Tre Province authorities confirmed that tests on poultry were positive for the H5 strain of bird flu. Further tests were being conducted on whether it's the lethal H5N1 variant.

Bird flu wiped out about 1.1 million poultry in Ben Tre province earlier this year, but restocking efforts have brought the poultry population up to about 3 million.

"Lack of information and lack of uniform instructions were the reasons why the bird flu epidemic had occurred and spread so quickly earlier this year," the Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper said.

In two other provinces in the south, where more than 3,000 chickens have died, authorities have already culled more than 10,000 birds as a precautionary measure.

The bird flu has caused the cull or deaths of more than 10,000 chickens in the Mekong Delta provinces of Bac Lieu and Tien Giang.

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