Friday, January 16, 2009

HCMC on alert for bird flu recurrence

13:23' 16/01/2009 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – HCMC’s Department of Health will launch inspections of food hygiene and poultry trading at the city’s wholesale markets in the lead up to Lunar New Year holidays, or Tet, said deputy director Le Truong Giang.

He said, “The inspections are aimed at raising awareness of possible bird flu outbreaks and prevent food poisoning in the Lunar New Year.”

Along with the inspections, Giang added, the department has ordered all hospitals to store Tamiflu, a drug used for treatment of bird flu patients, and prepare isolation areas for those inspect with the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.

The HCMC government has recently signed a decision tightening the monitoring of bird flu and of poultry transportation which is traditionally active ahead of Tet.

Under the decision, the relevant agencies, including the Animal Health Department, market monitors and the health department must tighten their coordination to keep a close watch of the disease and the transportation of poultry into the city from the affected areas.

Market monitoring forces must join hands with animal health workers to supervise the trading and transportation of poultry at markets in a number of districts including Binh Chanh, Binh Tan, 4 and 7, according to the decision.

The city has ordered the establishment of inspection teams to check poultry transportation by water in districts 4, 7 and Can Gio. One more team will be set up to monitor border areas in Long An.

The health department said the city now had over 400 areas where the trading and transportation of poultry was active, mainly in districts Binh Chanh, 8, 12, 3, and 2.

According to the department, it is now difficult to check the rampant trading and transportation of unquarantined poultry.

The National Department for Animal Health said no new outbreaks had been detected since early this year and that Thanh Hoa and Thai Nguyen were the only two provinces still affected by bird flu at the moment.

Lang Son Province’s Animal Health Department reported on Monday that they had detected the H5N1 virus in domestic birds smuggled in from China after they took 16 samples for testing.

Lang Son has set up five inspection teams to control the spread of the disease and prevent the smuggling of poultry from China to Vietnam.

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