Vietnam is preparing for the use of vaccines to cope with bird flu which has reappeared in some southern provinces, including sending experts to Chinese Hong Kong for research and testing effects of the vaccines, according to local newspaper Youth on Tuesday.
The preparations include research into other regional countries to see which kinds of vaccines they use on which subjects and how they manage them. The country has also conducted experiments to have a better understanding of positive and negative effects of vaccination.
Vietnam's Animal Health Department has sent its cadres to Chinese Hong Kong to get to know the effective use of vaccines there. However, they have found it difficult to apply the vaccination because the region' way of raising fowls is different from Vietnam's -- most of poultry, which are imported from China's mainland, are raised in the region's urban areas.
"We're using vaccines against bird flu on a trial basis in several chicken farms, both in southern and northern regions.. If it is necessary to vaccinate fowls at large-scale, we will import the vaccines from the Netherlands," the department's director BuiQuang Anh told Xinhua recently.
He said Vietnam was soliciting opinions of scientists and experts regarding the safe and effective use of the vaccines as recommended by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organization for Animal Health. While reiterating that the culling of infected fowls is the best way of ultimately eradicating bird flu, the two organizations agreed thatvaccination is the other alternation for countries that wish to stamp out the disease.
Vietnam, in the last two weeks, has detected some 6,000 sick and dead fowls in the four southern provinces of Long An, Soc Trang, Tien Giang and Ben Tre. Some specimens taken from 850 infected chickens in Soc Trang have tested positive for the bird flu virus strain of H5.
To prevent new outbreaks, Vietnam is intensifying anti-bird fluactivities such as frequently disinfecting farms, monitoring the transport and import of fowls and their eggs via border gates, andraising public awareness of the disease nationwide, especially in the southern Mekong Delta. The department has recently advised local farmers to raise chickens and ducks separately, explaining that it has found the bird flu virus H5N1 in ducks, in spite of still having no evidence about the virus transmission among different kinds of fowls.
The country is striving to prevent reoccurrence of bird flu in winter months, whose weather conditions favor the development of bird flu viruses. In a press briefing held last month, Anh said that after having reappeared in 11 southern provinces and city since June 2004, bird flu no longer activated there, and that the reappearance of bird flu had either killed or led to the forced culling of over 44,000 poultry, mainly chickens and quails.
In late March 2004, the country declared an end to bird flu that had killed 17 percent of its poultry population, and claimed 16 human lives since its previous outbreak last December. A total of 43.2 million fowls nationwide either died or were culled, causing direct losses of 1.3 trillion Vietnamese dong (82.8 million US dollars) to the local poultry industry.