January 7, 2004


Vietnamese Chickens Fall To Mystery Disease


A mysterious disease has killed more than 40,000 chickens in southern Vietnam, and local officials have been ordered to kill all sick animals and quarantine affected areas, an official said Tuesday.


The deaths occurred in two districts in Tien Giang province, about 75 kilometers southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, with the disease threatening to spread to other provinces, said the official from the Veterinary Department in Hanoi, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


He said local veterinary agencies in Long An and surrounding provinces have been instructed to kill any ill chickens and quarantine all affected areas.


Samples of the diseased poultry have been sent overseas for testing, he said, adding that veterinary experts are scheduled to meet Wednesday to determine what's causing the deaths.


Meanwhile, Tuesday's Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported 100,000 chickens died from the mystery illness in Tien Giang province. The report said more than 300,000 were slaughtered in Long An province.


Farmers' panic to sell their chickens has driven prices down to only 6,000 dong ($1=VND15,622) per kilogram from VND15,000 dong, it said.