An outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza occurred in late December in Can Duoc district in the Mekong Delta province of Long An, according to Dinh Thi Phuong Khanh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
On December 21, as many as 400 chickens at a poultry-breeding farm in hamlet 4 in Long Son commune showed symptoms of the disease, but the farm’s owner did not report the problem to authorities and tried to treat the animals by himself.
The disease was transmitted through the air and nearly 3,600 of 5,500 ducks at two farms nearby died on January 3.
After samples from dead ducks were found to be positive for H5N1, Can Duoc district’s People’s Committee announced that H5N1 bird flu had broken out in Long Son commune.
The district’s People’s Committee issued a plan on disease prevention to stall the spread of the deadly flu.
Local authorities were asked to burn dead animals, spray disinfectants, carry out strict surveillance, and set up three quarantine booths to closely monitor the situation.
The province also provided H5N1 avian flu vaccines to poultry farming households and large livestock farms with 2,000 animals in affected areas and in high-risk neighbouring areas such as Long Cang, Long Hoa, Tan Trach and Phuoc Van communes.
Agencies were required to reach at least 90 percent of H5N1 avian flu vaccine coverage in affected areas, and about 80 percent coverage in threatened areas.
Unseasonable weather in provinces across the country could contribute to the spread of the disease in coming weeks.
In Dak Lak province, the Sub-department of Animal Husbandry and Health reported that an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease occurred in late 2018.
Sixty-four cows at 19 breeding households in Buon Ho town’s Cu Bao commune on December 27 were found to have foot-and-mouth disease.
A day after, the Buon Ho People’s Committee announced an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle and temporarily suspended all transport, trade and slaughter of cattle and livestock products out of the affected areas.
The sub-department provided Cu Bao commune’s People’s Committee 800 vaccines against foot-and-mouth disease and 30 litres of chemicals for disinfecting areas.
Earlier, an outbreak of A/H5N1 bird flu among 215 chickens occurred at a breeding household in Krong Pak district’s Tan Tien commune.
Krong Pak district’s Animal Health Station destroyed the infected chickens and took measures to prevent disease and a large-scale outbreak.
Meanwhile, Tien Giang province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that it had burned nearly 1,200 pigs with foot-and-mouth disease at 83 breeding households and two slaughtering facilities in Cai Be, Cai Lay and Chau Thanh districts and Cai Lay town.
The disease first broke out on a farm in Cai Lay district’s My Thanh Nam commune on December 21 and spread quickly. Most of the animals had not been vaccinated against foot-and-mouth disease.
Provincial authorities said the virus spread rapidly because breeders had not disclosed that their pigs were diseased, and some of them had even sold diseased animals.
Farmers were told to immediately report their infected animals and to not throw away dead animals.
Authorities said that public awareness campaigns were needed to educate locals about the need for vaccines.
More inspections and better supervision during trading, transportation and slaughtering process are also needed, they said.
The province is now disinfecting the environment to reduce pathogens in an effort to control the spread of the disease before January 15.
Nguyen Van Long, head of the epidemiology department at the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said since late December the number of infected animals with foot-and-mouth disease had totalled 2,388 in the country. Most of them were unvaccinated pigs.
In the last 21 days, as many as 24 foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks have been reported in six provinces and cities across the country.
An avian flu A/H5N6 outbreak that lasted for 16 days was recorded in Quang Ninh province, and an A/H5N1 outbreak of 15 days was seen in Dak Lak province.
According to experts, the risk of bird flu outbreaks remains high in the coming time. Other strains of bird flu such as A/H7N9, A/H5N2 and A/H5N8 could infect poultry because of smuggling and illegal transport of the animals in northern border provinces and cities.