Vietnam hit with bird flu outbreak

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

A cause of the avian influenza outbreak in Vietnam remains unclear
A cause of the avian influenza outbreak in Vietnam remains unclear

Related tags Influenza Livestock Poultry

Hundreds of chickens have been culled in backyard poultry farms in Vietnam following the outbreak of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) strain.

More than 800 chickens were killed this week after the backyard poultry farm in the village of Khanh Binh Dong, southern Vietnam, detected an outbreak of the highly pathogenic AI strain H5N1.

Around 300 birds are believed to have been killed by the deadly virus and this led to the euthanisation of a further 500 birds to stop the disease from tearing through the chicken farm and spreading across the south.

No people are believed to have been infected by the disease. Indeed, the last reported human infection of H5N1​ in Vietnam was reported in February 2012, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Financial hit

The country’s poultry industry has gone through rapid change in the last decade, with government and business providing financial and technological support that has seen big improvements in production, biosecurity and animal husbandry.

As such, Vietnam has a robust programme to control outbreaks of the H5N1 AI strain​. But the disease can still cause serious economic losses, particularly to small-scale farms.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) claimed the H5N1 strain was likely to have started on 25 September, although the outbreak was confirmed this week. A cause of the outbreak, or origin of the infection, so far remains inconclusive.

Vietnam​ is ramping up vaccinations in response to the outbreak and will continue to cull livestock where it deems necessary. Surveillance areas within the containment zone have also been set up to monitor the situation.

Separately, regional reports in Vietnam have claimed that 117 workers in the southern province of Kien Giang – 75 kilometres from Khanh Binh Dong - have contracted the flu strain H1N1. It is unclear if the two strains are linked.

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