MARD greenlights new bird flu plan

A five-year national plan to prevent bird flu has been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The plan, designed to step-by-step curb the spread of bird flu nationwide, is expected to be the foundation to rid the country of the highly pathogenic avian bird flu by 2018, MARD Deputy Minister Vu Van Tam said.

The plan, given the thumbs-up on March 13, calls for reducing the number of bird-flu prone areas nationwide.

Under the plan, about 80% of the provinces and cities throughout the country will become areas with a low risk of being struck by the bird flu virus by 2018, while the H5N1 bird flu virus will be completely eliminated in all localities in the south-east region by 2018.

Tam said the State budget for the plan is estimated to be greater than VND132 billion (US$6.2 million), with local budgets adding about VND583 billion ($27.4 million).

The ministry assigned its Department of Animal Health to closely work with localities to carry out the plan, he said.

Statistics from the department showed that 14 provinces and cities have reported outbreaks of bird flu so far this year, including Ca Mau, Dong Nai, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Quang Nam, Khanh Hoa and Soc Trang.

The department said that local authorities discovered and took prompt actions to control the outbreaks.

A large number of poultry were destroyed after contracting the bird flu virus in Khanh Hoa and Tra Vinh, the department said.

Teams from the department were sent to the localities to assist in controlling the outbreaks. 

VNS/VOV online