December 29, 2008


Bird flu hits Vietnam poultry farms 

Bird flu has struck two poultry flocks in northern Vietnam, a newspaper reported Sunday (Dec 28), after authorities warned that the disease could resurface strongly in the cold and wet winter months.


Last week the virus struck in Thai Nguyen city, 80 kilometres north of the capital Hanoi, where it was found in several dead ducks on one farm and in dead chickens on another, the Tuoi Tre daily said.


Veterinary authorities culled 100 ducks and more than 4,000 chickens, said the report, which cited local animal health officials.


Northern Vietnam has in recent days been gripped by a cold snap that favours the spread of respiratory diseases because the virus survives longer in the cold.


The Tet lunar New Year festival in January is also considered a high-risk time for the spread of bird flu because the slaughter, trade and consumption of poultry, and smuggling of birds from neighbouring China will rise sharply.


Vietnam's health ministry has issued a nationwide bird flu alert, urging cities and provinces to step up detection and epidemic control measures.


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