May 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – H5N1 avian influenza has continued to flare up in poultry on two continents this week, with Vietnam, Ghana, and Pakistan all confirming new outbreaks in the past 2 days.
In Vietnam over the weekend, more than 2,000 ducks died, and another 6,000 were culled in various areas affected by outbreaks of H5N1, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported yesterday. The ducks had not been vaccinated.
Five provinces have been affected since the beginning of this month, China's Xinhua news agency reported. They are Quang Ninh, Son La, and Nam Dinh in the north, Nghe An in the central region, and Dong Thap in the south.
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative Andrew Speedy told AFP that rather than trying to wipe out the virus, which is believed to be widespread in Vietnam's bird population, efforts will focus on vaccination campaigns, which have proved highly effective.
"We are now convinced that it's pretty much endemic and that the vaccinations will be required for the foreseeable future, although there will be an attempt to find an exit strategy at some point," Speedy said.
The Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Animal Health said 119 million birds in 60 cities and provinces nationwide have been vaccinated this year, Xinhua reported.
This year's second round of nationwide vaccinations is now starting, AFP reported.
Ghana reported its second outbreak of the virus on a farm in Sunyani, about 250 miles north of the capital, Accra, according to a Reuters report published yesterday. Gary Quarcoo, the agriculture ministry's head of veterinary services, said veterinary officials have culled thousands of birds in the area and destroyed animal feed and farm equipment.
Ghana's first outbreak H5N1 was detected on a farm near the port city of Tema in April.
In Pakistan, officials said today that more than 5,000 chickens were culled after an outbreak that killed about 6,000 chickens was confirmed on three farms near Islamabad, according to another AFP report. The country's last outbreaks occurred in April in the northwest and in the southern city of Karachi, the story said.