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Ciptapangan Visitor
Vietnam kills ducks, tightens bird flu checks
posted by admin on 11/08/06

HANOI, Aug 10 (Reuters)

- Vietnam has slaughtered 54 ducks in a southern province after tests showed they had a strain of avian influenza, the third such finding this year, but there have been no outbreaks of the disease, an official said on Thursday.

"We found the ducks at two farms infected with H5 so we killed them all," said Mai Van Hiep, director of the Animal Health Department in Ben Tre province, 85 km (50 miles) southwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

"But this is not an outbreak as all the ducks were healthy," he told Reuters by telephone.

The tests were part of bird flu surveillance following a vaccination campaign to protect poultry from the H5N1 virus, Hiep said. The virus has killed 42 of Vietnam's 93 human cases since late 2003.

Wild birds, ducks and geese can carry H5N1 without showing symptoms.

Last week, officials said 53 wild storks had been culled at a theme park in Ho Chi Minh City after tests showed they had the H5 strain, the second such case in Vietnam this year.

In April, chickens and ducks at three farms in the northern province of Cao Bang bordering China were found to be infected with the H5 strain, the presence of which had also been confirmed the same month in chickens smuggled into Vietnam from China.

Vietnam has had no human infections since late last year, but the Health Ministry said on Wednesday there had been scattered deaths of poultry which farmers did not report on time.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam, surrounded by countries where fresh outbreaks have been reported such as Laos and China, was threatened anew by bird flu.

"The risk of the disease's recurrence is very high in our country if fierce measures are not taken," Dung said in a directive which said state media should carry more information on the virus to break complacency after months of no outbreaks.

Market inspectors should tighten poultry slaughter and transport while researchers should test anti-bird flu vaccines for humans soon, Dung said.

Pending government approval, Vietnamese researchers would test bird flu vaccines on humans in October, the National Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology said.

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