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[Updated] H5N1 Bird Flu Spreading Rapidly in Vietnam

[Update Below] H5N1, the avian influenza, has been making its way across Vietnam with reported outbreaks in 10 localities across the country. According to Tuoi Tre, thousands of animals have been infected and at least 2 people have died from the virus.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has reported outbreaks in Lao Cai, Quang Ngai, Nam Dinh, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Tay Ninh, Khanh Hoa, Long An, Bac Lieu, and Ca Ma and is taking urgent measures to contain the outbreak.

Though the epicenter of the of the virus is unknown, authorities said it may have started in Bao Thang.

Across the affected Provinces, tens of thousands of animals have been incinerated after testing positive for the virus.

Poultry vaccinations are underway and owners of poultry incinerated due to the flu will receive compensation of VND15,000 - 35,000 per animal from local authorities. 

A 52-year-old man in southern Binh Phuoc Province and a 60-year-old woman in Dong Thap Province have been identified as the 2 human victims of the flu.

[Tuoi Tre // Photo via Thomas Hawk]


Update 27/2: According to statistics from the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the latest strain of H5N1 bird flu has spread to 21 Vietnamese provinces and cities with more that 64,000 infected chickens killed.

The worst hit areas have been the central province of Khanh Hoa and the northwestern province of Lao Cai where over 20,000 chickens have been culled, reported Saigon Giai Phong newspaper.

Experts at a Bird Flu Prevention and Control meeting in Hanoi on February 25 said that the spread of the flu was exacerbated by “complicated” weather and an increase in shipping and trading of poultry during the Tet festivities. They also recommended tighter border controls,

Deputy Head of the department Dam Xuan Thanh warned that if swift action isn’t taken, the bird flu could become an epidemic. 

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