Dec 4, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Animal health officials in India yesterday reported that the H5N1 avian influenza virus has spread to poultry in new areas of Assam state, as medical officials in Vietnam acknowledged fresh outbreaks in two provinces.
The virus recently resurfaced in India almost 6 months after outbreaks in that country led to the culling of nearly 40,000 chickens and ducks, according to earlier reports. Ashim Kumar Kakoty, a provincial veterinary official, yesterday confirmed the virus turned up in new areas and that authorities were set to start culling birds in the area, located in northeastern India, Reuters reported yesterday.
Kakoty told Reuters that the new outbreak areas include about 20 villages, some of which are close to Guwahati, Assam's capital. He said precautionary measures throughout the state include a ban on the sale and movement of poultry in and out of Guwahati.
Elsewhere, media reports coming out of Vietnam quoted health ministry officials as saying the virus has reappeared in Ca Mau province, in the south, and Nghe An province, in the central part of the country, Xinhua, China's state news agency reported yesterday.
Vietnam News Agency reported that Nguyen Huy Nga, head of the department for preventive medicine and environment, told officials at a meeting in Hanoi yesterday that though no new human cases have been reported, weather conditions and unpredictable circulation of the virus in poultry present a high risk of the disease to humans, according to Xinhua.
According to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Vietnam has notified the agency about several H5N1 outbreaks this year. The most recent report, dated Nov 27, described two outbreaks in Nghe An province, the site of one of the country's new outbreaks. Those two outbreaks involved duck flocks; one occurred in unvaccinated village ducks, and the other—considered to be ongoing—was reportedly caused by the introduction of unvaccinated ducklings into an existing flock.
Dec 1 CIDRAP News story "India reports new H5N1 outbreak"
Nov 27 OIE report on Vietnamese outbreaks