Monday, October 22, 2007

Vietnamese government to communities: Vaccinate and remain alert

Vietnam's director of the ministry’s Animal Health Department, Bui Quang Anh, said today that another H5N1 outbreak among poultry is likely and that, together, diligence, vaccination , and keeping smuggled poultry from entering the country are key to preventing future outbreaks.

After the government provided 90 million doses of vaccine for poultry to communities, half of 64 targeted cities have completed vaccination - ahead of schedule. However, in localities slow to vaccinate and prepare for H5N1, there have been more outbreaks.

"We have learned that in the areas where local authorities have carefully guided people to prevent outbreaks and given timely financial support, the outbreaks have been better controlled," Anh said.

The ministry has asked that for reprimands of "chairmen of provincial people’s committees who have not carried out vaccination programmes, causing the return of bird flu."

In addition, authorities plan to relocate poultry and egg hatcheries to areas "outside city limits, away from residential areas, universities, schools, hospitals, markets, offices and public areas" to reduce the risk of further spread and transmission to humans. It is not clear how the government plans to implement this policy.

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