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Grim weather may bring bird flu outbreak

HA NOI, Aug. 9 — Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan on Wednesday said there was a high risk of new bird flu outbreaks due to unfavourable weather conditions weakening the resistance of poultry and ineffective management of poultry transportation in border provinces.

During the past two weeks, bird flu has reappeared in Hai Phong City, with poultry infections numbering as high as 67,000, while the number in Ha Tinh Province was 17,000.

Bird flu outbreaks have so far been reported in the two cities of Hai Duong and Hai Phong, along with the provinces of Quang Binh and Ha Tinh.

According to the Animal Health Department, there will be scattered outbreaks of the disease in some localities in northern provinces during the time to come.

More than three million doses of bird flu vaccine have been allocated to the localities and nearly 100,000 affected chicken, ducks and other birds have been incinerated.

Tan asked the localities and agencies to strictly implement the Prime Minister's directive last week requesting them to strengthen inspection and control of poultry imports to Viet Nam to prevent bird flu.

To control transmission of the disease via illegal poultry imports, the PM asked border provinces to encourage local people not to take part in the transport and trade of unidentified and unquarantined poultry.

Other ministries, including the ministries of Industry and Trade, Defence, Finance, Public Security, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Information and Communications, were asked to work together to deal with illegal imports of poultry, while strengthening inspections and popularising measures to prevent H5N1 human influenza and information relating to the fight against bird flu.

Meanwhile, according to Hoang Van Nam, the ministry's acting head of the Animal Health Department, outbreaks of foot-and-mouth and blue-ear pig disease are under control with no new cases reported.

The two provinces of Nghe An and Dak Lak are still officially classified as under threat of blue-ear pig disease. (PNA/VNS) CTB/rsm

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