VietNamNet Bridge – Bird flu has recurred in Hau Giang and Kien Giang provinces, and the epidemic is likely to spread across the Mekong Delta.
Local farmers are currently harvesting the winter-spring rice crop, creating ideal conditions for ducks to range around rice fields and hunt for food.
Experts have raised concerns about the emergence of the deadly strain of H5N1 virus as it is difficult to control these free-range ducks.
Bird flu was detected at a chick breeding farm in Hon Dat Town, Kien Giang Province in mid February, resulting in immediate culling of 559 chicks. Despite this precaution, the deadly disease killed a local person in the province early this year.
Meanwhile, Hau Giang province uncovered a bird flu outbreak in a chicken farm in My Thanh village, Phung Hiep district in early February. As many as 600 out of a total of 1,070 infected chickens were reported dead. Veterinarians destroyed all the infected birds and disinfected local farms.
There is growing concern about the spread of the epidemic in the Mekong delta as most waterfowl are unvaccinated against bird flu.
Farmer Vo Van Buoi, whose chickens were culled due to bird flu in Hau Giang, quoted the local veterinary service, saying the disease recurred in the province as a result of the short supply of vaccines from mid-November 2012 to February 2013.
Truong Ngoc Trung, head of the provincial Animal Health Department, said Hau Giang has allocated its budget to purchase 3 million doses of the vaccine to inoculate waterfowl.
He said 3 million ducks and 200,000 chickens will have been vaccinated against the deadly H5N1 virus by the end of March.
Luu Phuoc Hau, deputy head of the Can Tho City Animal Health Department, said the city is running short of bird flu vaccines for its 1.5 million ducks.
“We are planning to purchase 6-8 million doses to vaccinate the city’s waterfowl,” said Hau.
He admitted that there is high risk of fresh bird flu outbreaks as it is difficult to control the ducks ranging between localities.
Truong Thi Kim Dung, director of the Zone 7 Animal Health Centre, insisted that bird flu has been kept under control and no new outbreaks have been reported in the region.
The region is currently feeding 23.7 million ducks and 17 million chickens.
Dung revealed that the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has bird flu vaccines in reserve and it will distribute the vaccines to localities if required.