June 20, 2024


Vietnam urges stricter measures against livestock diseases amid rising outbreaks


Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Phung Duc Tien, emphasised the importance of prevention over cure at a conference on livestock and poultry diseases, Vietnam News reported.


The conference focused on necessary prevention and control measures for the latter half of 2024. Deputy Minister Tien highlighted the need for localities to intensify efforts against animal product smuggling and improve vaccination rates.


Illegal trade in livestock breeds is a major factor in the spread of serious diseases such as avian influenza, blue ear disease, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), lumpy skin disease, and African swine fever, which have significantly harmed the farming industry, he said.


He urged local authorities to collaborate with transport and market management agencies to address this issue.


Vietnam's Department of Animal Health, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that dangerous diseases in animal husbandry have become increasingly complex since early 2024, with a rise in outbreaks and infected animals compared to the same period in 2023.


One death related to the A/H5N1 strain and one infection of A/H9N2 have been reported. Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease doubled, and African swine fever (ASF) clusters increased 2.4-fold, with the most severe clusters in Bac Kan, Lang Son, Quang Nam, and Quang Ninh provinces.


Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh recently issued a directive to provincial and city leaders, along with several ministries, calling for concerted, drastic, and effective measures to prevent and control diseases in the livestock sector.


Local authorities were instructed to mobilize legal resources to handle outbreaks, prevent new ones, and cull all infected or suspected animals. Measures to support affected farmers and promptly address the trade and transport of sick animals were also emphasized.


The Prime Minister stressed that at least 80% of available livestock must be vaccinated as soon as possible, ordering a timely vaccination programme against avian influenza, rabies, African swine fever, and other diseases.


Phan Quang Minh, deputy director of the Department of Animal Health, warned of a high risk of widespread ASF as farmers rush to repopulate herds due to rising pork prices.


The local vaccination drive remains modest in scale and funding, and some farmers neglect basic veterinary hygiene practices. Culling of infected animals is also challenging due to a shortage of veterinary practitioners and insufficient funds for necessary chemicals and equipment.


The Department of Animal Health is collaborating with localities to monitor disease situations and implement five national programs to control illnesses in animal husbandry. The department emphasised the importance of active supervision of disease transmission within markets, vaccination efficiency, and evaluation.


An epidemiological map of dangerous livestock and poultry diseases is being developed to guide prevention and control efforts and enhance testing capacities.


Specialised units and localities are advised to guide livestock and poultry owners on safe farming techniques and disease prevention through hygiene, disinfection, and pest control. Local authorities must be proactive in detecting dangerous outbreaks for prompt warning and handling.


The focus will be on developing disease-free farming areas and value chains, particularly those meeting World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) standards for exports.


-      Vietnam News

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