Bird flu will ‘continue’ in Vietnam, expert warns

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

The FAO is working with Vietnam to control outbreaks of avian influenza
The FAO is working with Vietnam to control outbreaks of avian influenza

Related tags Influenza Avian influenza Influenza vaccine Livestock Poultry

After a deadly outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) strain H5N1 rocked Vietnam’s southern meat-producing hub, experts have warned the country will continue to suffer from the virus.

Hundreds of chickens were killed in the first week of October as H5N1 was detected in backyard poultry farms in the south Vietnamese village of Khanh Binh Dong.

This year alone the country has suffered from three outbreaks of AI​, and an expert in the field from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned GlobalMeatNews​ that the industry should expect more outbreaks in the coming years.

We expect that the H5N1 HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) virus will continue to circulate in Vietnam,​” warned Pawin Padungtod, senior technical coordinator of FAO Vietnam’s emergency centre for transboundary animal disease.

However, with rapid response and effective vaccine, the outbreaks can be effectively contained.​”

Padungtod told this website that Vietnam had made some huge strides forward in recent years to tackle the virus, which had previously caused serious damage to the burgeoning poultry exporter.

Number of outbreaks down

H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza is a serious disease, which can cause a lot of death in poultry, especially chickens, and humans​," Padungtod said.

Vietnam has experienced outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in poultry continuously since late 2003. At the peak of the virus in 2004, Vietnam had more than 2,500 outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in one year. Since then, vaccines have been used throughout the country and the number of outbreaks has drastically decreased to less than 50 per year in 2010.

In 2015, there were fewer than 30 outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI in Vietnam. In 2016, there have been three outbreaks of H5N1 HPAI, one in the north and two in the south.​”

The FAO has told GlobalMeatNews​ it is working alongside the Vietnamese Department of Animal Health on the surveillance of AI. The shared goal is to ensure any outbreaks are rapidly identified and to ensure any introduction of a new virus subtype is known so a vaccine can be created

Although Padungtod said the disease can lead to death among humans. However, the last case of a human infected from bird flu was reported in February 2012.

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