Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vietnam-Bird flu spreads to 11 localities nationwide #H5N1 #BIRDFLU


34,000 heads of poultry have been culled and 2 people have died as the H5N1 avian flu has spread to 21 districts in 11 provinces and cities across the country, said the National Steering Committee for Avian Influenza Prevention and Control.
At yesterday’s meeting to review the disease situation, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, head of the committee, requested local authorities nationwide to take all possible measures to control, prevent and drive back the disease, with vaccination of poultry being the most important priority.
The minister asked the Ministry of Finance to facilitate the import of 50 million of doses of H5N1-Re 5 vaccine as soon as possible.
He also requested the 7 epidemic inspection teams set up several days ago to step up their mission in 48 provinces and cities and give necessary support to the 11 affected localities. These are Thanh Hoa, Quang Tri, Ha Nam, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang, Soc Trang and Kien Giang,
Acting head of the Ministry of Health’s Veterinary Department Hoang Van Nam warned that the avian flu virus had continuously evolved since 2003 and become more dangerous.
From 2003 to 2011, 121 people were affected by bird flu and 61 of them, or about 50%, died. In January 2012, 2 people were found to contract the H5N1 virus and both died, he said.
From 2003 to 2007, the H5N1 clade 1 virus prevailed in Vietnam, but since 2007, sub-clade 2.3.4 had appeared and existed until 2009, when sub-clade 2.3.2 was found. This sub-clade has later developed into two groups A and B.
Of the 2 groups, the former is three times more dangerous than the latter and has been found in almost all of the affected provinces and cities, while the latter has appeared in only 8 localities so far.
In the past several years, the H5N1-Re 5 vaccine was used to vaccinate poultry in the country, but since the appearance of sub-clade 2.3.2, the vaccine has been found to be not strong enough, Nam said.
China, which has also been affected by sub-clade 2.3.2, has studied a new specific vaccine, H5N1-Re 6, but the Chinese authorities have yet to allow the production of the vaccine.
Nam said in the absence of a new specific vaccine, both China and Vietnam thus had to continue to use H5N1-Re 5 to vaccinate their poultry.

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