Bird flu is found hitting 25 households with poultry production in 11 Mekong River Delta provinces between December 2004 and January 4, said Bui Quang Anh, head of Veterinary Department of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at a press conference held on January 5. Some 29,000 chickens, including 9,970 chickens, 17,200 ducks and 6,000 quails were culled.
Cold weather and large demand of transport of poultry during Tet holidays are favourable conditions for the resurgence of the bird flu. In the north, the bird flu has been detected at a flock of chickens in Truc Thai commune, Truc Ninh district of the Red River delta province of Nam Dinh and the local veterinary workers culled nearly 1,000 chickens, said Anh. Other localities, especially the places with thick density of poultry raising, the places where have ever happened avian flu and slaughter houses, are prone to see bird flu happening again.
In an effort to prevent the outbreak of the bird flu during the traditional Tet holidays, Anh said the Central Steering Committee of Bird Flu Prevention will ask the government to allow road checks with poultry transporters; to request local authorities to intensify their supervision on bird flu at the poultry raisers’ places; to remove slaughters far from inhabitant areas; and send veterinary workers to examine and help the inhabitants dealing with any possible outbreak.
H5 virus detected on ducks
The deadly H5 virus was detected on samples of dead ducks sent to HCM City-based regional veterinary centre and diagnosed to cause death of these ducks, said a source of the centre on January 5. This diagnosis made many surprised because not long time ago, the centre examined serum of ducks at six farms of Mekong River Delta provinces of Ben Tre, Tien Giang and Long An and concluded that these ducks are free from H5 virus despite of positive results when diagnosed. The centre’s workers also confirmed that the virus found on ducks would be impossible to spread to other poultry and cattle.
The centre has sent some samples of disease to Australia to have gene diagram defined. If the gene diagram of in ducks has similar H5 virus to it found in chickens, it is likely that virus in ducks has been transmitted to other poultry and cattle.
According to deputy director of the HCM City-based regional veterinary centre Nguyen Van Binh, for the time being the biggest threat is with the flocks of field ducks. The southeast provinces have large flocks of chickens and quails which are raised in the industrial form and their demand of ducks mainly depends on western provinces. Thus, if the supervision is not strict enough, worried Binh, it is likely that the outbreak will occur.
The HCM City-based regional veterinary centre is possible to work with merely 400 samples of serum each day. But, there are up to 100,000 chickens from the western provinces transported daily to the city, said a source of HCM City veterinary department. As regulated, some 10% chickens of the flock have to be diagnosed. However, Binh said that although the chicken transporters have been granted with certificate of quarantine after diagnosis, it is uncertain at all that all the chickens are safe.