Vietnam, Thailand continue to battle avian flu

Dec 29, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnam and Thailand have continued to battle avian influenza in recent weeks, with a total of 19 outbreaks reported in a dozen provinces, according to health officials of the two countries.

Vietnam has reported seven outbreaks in six provinces, while Thailand has reported 12 outbreaks in six provinces, according to information published by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

A total of 10,750 birds died of the disease or were killed in control efforts in Vietnam from Nov 25 through Dec 24, says a report by Dr. Bui Quang Anh, director of animal health in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The disease struck poultry flocks ranging from 125 to 4,900 birds, all in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam.

"These infectious areas so far have been completely put under control," Bui stated in a report published yesterday by Vietnam News, the state news agency. But he warned that Vietnam is at risk for more outbreaks because the weather is cooling and poultry transport and consumption are increasing.

Thailand's report to OIE said about 3,300 ducks, hens, and fighting cocks, 241 of which were sick, were destroyed from Dec 17 to 23 because of avian flu. The report by Dr. Yukol Limlamthong of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives did not specify the virus, but the disease was listed as highly pathogenic avian flu, implying that it was H5N1.

The report said seven of the 12 outbreaks were in the northern province of Phitsanu Lok.

Two more avian flu outbreaks in Vietnam were reported today by Xinhua, China's state news agency. Quoting the local newspaper Labor, the report said 850 birds in the southern province of Ca Mau died or were culled because of the disease.

Vietnam's report to OIE lists the flu virus as an H5 type but does not identify the "N," or neuraminidase, number. Vietnam and Thailand have lost millions of poultry while battling outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu for much of the past year. In addition, Vietnam has had 27 confirmed human cases of the illness, 20 of them fatal, and Thailand has had 17 human cases with 12 deaths.

In other recent developments, about 9,000 ducks have been destroyed in South Korea because of an outbreak of suspected H5N2 avian flu, a milder strain than H5N1, according to a Dec 22 Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.

The ducks were on a farm in Gwangju, about 200 miles south of Seoul, the report said. The outbreak was detected Dec 1, but confirmatory test results on the virus were still awaited at the time of the report.

South Korea battled outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu beginning late in 2003 but had no human cases. The AFP report said the government declared the disease under control in March 2004.

See also:

Vietnam's report to OIE

Thailand's report to OIE

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