Vietnam reports new bird flu outbreak

HANOI, Aug. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Vietnam has just detected one more bird flu outbreak in the southern city of Can Tho.

    All of 600 affected chicken in a farm in the city´s Phong Dien district have been killed, according to local newspaper Vietnam Agriculture on Tuesday.

    Earlier, bird flu hit four other districts, affecting more than 6,000 fowls. Now, poultry in the districts are closely monitored.

    The disease has hit 11 southern localities, including Can Tho and 10 provinces of Long An, Bac Lieu, Hau Giang, Tra Vinh, Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Tien Giang, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Kien Giang and Ben Tre, either killing or leading to the forced killing of nearly 63,000 poultry since late June.

    As of Aug. 2, seven out of the 11 localities were eligible for declaring the end of bird flu as no new outbreaks have been detected for 21 days, said the paper.

    The national anti-bird flu steering committee has just launched an anti-bird flu month in August, aiming to comprehensively deal with outbreaks, and eventually to ensure the localities free of bird flu in September.

    However, the Department of Animal Health admitted that the riskof the disease´s relapse is high mainly due to potential disease sources, transport of no-quarantined live fowls and smuggling of poultry via borders.

    Bird flu killed 17 percent of Vietnam´s poultry population, andclaimed 16 human lives during its outbreak in December 2003. A total of 43.2 million fowls nationwide either died or were culled,causing the local poultry industry to suffer direct losses of 1.3 trillion Vietnamese dong (82.8 million US dollars).