Vietnam declares bird flu emergency

HANOI, Vietnam, Feb. 11 (UPI) — The government of Vietnam has announced emergency measures to prevent the spread of a bird flu epidemic from poultry to humans.

Thousands of infected birds have been culled since Type A bird flu was discovered in seven provinces, the Vietnam news service VNS reported Wednesday.

The latest province to suffer an outbreak is Bach Ninh where more than 100 ducks found dead on two farms tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered all government offices and relevant agencies to see that strict prevention measures are implemented to keep the disease from being transmitted to humans.

He also asked that research into development of a vaccine against the H5N1 strain of the virus be accelerated.

Nine arrested in Vietnam for preventing chicken cull

Vietnamese police said yesterday they had arrested nine people for trying to stop chickens being taken as part of a cull aimed at preventing the spread of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

The nine were arrested Saturday, a Hanoi police source said, without elaborating.

State media said about 100 residents of the capital’s Thuong Tin district had run away with about two thirds of the 1,500 chickens that authorities were intending to cull on Thursday.

Ten animal health and market management officials at the site were unable to prevent members of a crowd from grabbing the chickens and then running away, news website VietnamNet reported.

State-run Vietnam Television said yesterday city authorities had asked the relevant agencies to take measures to prevent any repetition.

Bird flu, which was first recorded in Vietnam in 2003, is now present in five provinces, mostly in the Mekong river delta, according to the national animal health department.

The communist nation’s preventive health office confirmed yesterday a 23-year-old woman had been infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu and had been admitted to hospital in Quang Ninh province on the Chinese border.

The first human case this year reported in Vietnam was an eight-year-old girl from northern Thanh Hoa province who subsequently recovered.

Her 13-year-old sister, who died in hospital earlier, was never tested for H5N1, health officials said.

Vietnam has the the world’s second highest tally of human fatalities from bird flu, with 52 lives lost. Indonesia leads the list with 115 victims.

Bird flu hits five provinces in Vietnam

Hanoi – An outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu virus has spread to four provinces in southern Vietnam and one in the centre of the country, a government official said Monday.

Hoang Van Nam, deputy head of Vietnam’s Animal Health Department, said thousands of fowl had been infected in the Mekong Delta provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Hau Giang.

A further outbreak was reported on a farm in the province of Nghe An in central Vietnam.

On one farm in Hau Giang province, 400 ducks found infected with the virus had not been vaccinated. Other cases involved ducks which had been vaccinated but contracted the disease before they had a chance to develop immunity.

Nam said despite government warnings, farmers were not strictly obeying regulations on preventing the spread of bird flu. He said some were throwing dead ducks in canals and rivers where their germs were likely to spread.

Vietnam Television reported Sunday that outside Hanoi on February 5, several dozen people resisted authorities who tried to destroy a truckload of live chickens that lacked quarantine certificates.

As animal health officials tossed the chickens into a pit, preparing to bury them, dozens of locals jumped into the hole and rushed away with the animals. Just 300 of the 1,500 chickens were destroyed.

Meanwhile, a doctor confirmed Monday Vietnam’s second human case of bird flu this year.

The 23-year-old woman has been hospitalized since February 3 at Quang Ninh general hospital, 150 kilometres west of Hanoi, after eating the meat of a sick chicken.

‘We are not sure if the patient can survive,’ said Dr Tran Thanh Nga, one of the doctors assigned to the case.

Vietnam’s first confirmed human case of bird flu this year was a 13-year-old girl from Thanh Hoa province, 150 kilometers south of Hanoi. The girl’s older sister died on January 2 after displaying symptoms consistent with bird flu, but was not tested for the virus.

Avian influenza has infected 106 people in Vietnam and killed 52 since it first appeared in the country in late 2003.

The disease is usually spread by contact between sick birds and humans, but scientists fear that the virus could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible among humans and spark a global pandemic that could kill millions.

Vietnam: Nine Detained Over Bird Flu Fracas

HANOI, VIETNAM: Vietnamese police detained nine people suspected of having led a mob of villagers who prevented authorities last week from destroying chickens to stop the spread of bird flu, authorities said Monday (9 Feb).

The nine villagers were detained Saturday (7 Feb) in Thuong Tin district just outside Hanoi where the brawl occurred Thursday (5 Feb), said Nguyen Van Phuong, the district police chief. They could face charges of “openly appropriating property,” he said, an offense that carries up to three years in prison.

Police in Vietnam can hold suspects up to nine days without charges.

Dozens of villagers in Thuong Tin overwhelmed police and health authorities Thursday and stopped them from destroying about 1,500 chickens smuggled in from China, officials said.

As authorities removed the poultry from a truck to burn them in a pit, the villagers _ desperate for the income the birds could provide _ grabbed the chickens and ran off, they said.

Vietnam has reported two human bird flu cases so far this year.

Bird flu has killed 52 people in the country, including five last year, since it began raging through Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.

The H5N1 strain has killed at least 254 people worldwide since 2003, most through contact with sick birds. Scientists are monitoring the virus because of its potential to mutate into a new human influenza virus, which could infect millions. (AP)

Vietnam reports 2nd bird flu case this year

The Associated Press
Sunday, February 8, 2009

HANOI, Vietnam: A melee broke out in northern Vietnam when more than 100 villagers prevented authorities from destroying chickens to stop the spread of bird flu, officials said Sunday as the country announced its second H5N1 case.

About 100 villagers in Thuong Tin district just outside Hanoi overwhelmed police and health authorities Thursday and stopped them from destroying about 1,500 chickens smuggled in from China, said official Vu Van Dung.

As about 30 police and health officials removed the poultry from a truck to burn in a pit, the villagers — desperate for the income the birds could provide — grabbed the chickens and ran off.

“I told the villagers that the chickens had been sprayed with chemicals and were not edible, but they didn’t listen,” Dung said. “They grabbed chickens from us, and we were overwhelmed.”

Meanwhile, in northern Quang Ninh province, tests results confirmed Friday that a 23-year-old woman was infected with the H5N1 virus.

She was on a respirator since being hospitalized five days ago, hospital deputy director Nguyen Quoc Hung said. The woman became ill after slaughtering and eating chickens her family was raising.

Five other family members who had also eaten the chicken showed no symptoms.

In early January, an 8-year-old girl from northern Thanh Hoa province tested positive for bird flu, Vietnam’s first reported human case in more than 10 months.

Bird flu has killed 52 people in Vietnam, including five last year, since it began raging through Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.

The H5N1 strain has killed at least 254 people worldwide since 2003, most through contact with sick birds. Scientists are monitoring the virus because of its potential to mutate into a new human influenza virus, which could infect millions.

Bird flu outbreak occurs in central Vietnam

HANOI, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Nghe An, a central province of Vietnam, the local newspaper Liberty Saigon reported on Wednesday, citing a statement from the provincial People’s Committee.

The outbreak was spotted at the Dien Hong commune, causing the death of nearly 1,000 poultry. Specimens from the dead poultry have recently been tested positive to the bird flu virus strain H5N1, according to the statement.

The local authority has established a zone covering the outbreak to prevent the virus from spreading. Consumption and sale of birds and bird-related products within the zone are banned.

Bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam, starting in December 2003, have killed and led to the forced culling of dozens of millions of fowls in the country.

Vietnam plans human trials of bird-flu vaccine

Hanoi – A Vietnamese pharmaceuticals company is to begin testing an avian influenza vaccine in humans this week, the company’s director confirmed Tuesday. Nguyen Thu Van – director of Vabiotech, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology – said human trials would begin later this week and run for eight months.

Vabiotech has contracted Vietnam’s Military Medical Institute to conduct the trials, the first in Vietnam for a human bird-flu vaccine. If they prove successful, mass production of the vaccine could begin in late 2009 for domestic consumption.

“It’s very important to test the vaccine on humans and to produce it,” Van said. “The fatality rate among people infected with bird flu is very high.”

Bird flu has infected 106 people in Vietnam, killing 52, since it first appeared in the country in late 2003. The latest fatality, an 11-year-old boy, occurred Friday.

Other countries have tested bird-flu vaccines in humans but have not brought them to the production stage.

Van said the Vietnamese vaccine had been tested on animals in 2005 and 2007 with good results.

A representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that because the Vietnamese vaccine was intended only for domestic consumption, international authorities would not be involved in supervising the trials.

In 2005, the WHO objected to Vietnam’s announcement that it was developing a human vaccine. At the time, the Vietnamese were using monkey kidneys to incubate the virus for the vaccine, a technique that is not favored in modern research.

H5N1 – the strain of bird flu that has infected 372 people in Asia and Africa and killed 235, according to WHO statistics – mainly affects poultry and wild birds but can infect people who have close contact with sick fowl. Scientists fear that the disease could eventually mutate into a form that could be transmitted between humans, leading to a worldwide pandemic that could kill millions.

Bird flu kills four civets in Vietnam national park

HANOI, March 11 (Reuters) – Bird flu killed four civets in a Vietnamese national park, the second time the rare type of mammal was reported to have died there of the H5N1 virus since 2005, a park official said on Tuesday.

Four endangered Owston’s palm civets died early last month at Cuc Phuong park and tests of their samples found they had the H5N1 virus, the official said.

“Visitors are not allowed to come near the civet’s area now,” the official said by telephone from the park about 90 km (55 miles) south of Hanoi in Ninh Binh province.

In June 2005 three civets, born in captivity and raised in the same cage, died at the park and tests later confirmed they had been infected by bird flu, park officials said. The park has eight of the rare cat-like civets left.

Civets eat pork, worms and fruit, but not poultry.

However, Ninh Binh is one of nine locations where outbreaks have been detected among poultry in the past month, including a farm outside Hanoi, the Animal Health Department said.

It is not the first time that bird flu has killed exotic animals. The H5N1 virus has infected ostriches in South Africa, a clouded leopard and tigers in Thailand.

One of China’s top doctors has said that the H5N1 virus has shown signs of mutation and can kill humans more easily if treatment is not given early enough, newspapers reported on Tuesday [ID:nHKG228879].

The H5N1 virus has infected 368 people around the world since 2003, killing 234 of them, including 51 in Vietnam.

Experts fear it could trigger a pandemic killing millions if it ever transmits efficiently among people. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; editing by Grant McCool and Sanjeev Miglani)

Vietnam on high bird flu alert after new poultry outbreaks: govt

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam is on high alert over bird flu after the virus killed thousands of birds in three provinces, having claimed its third human victim of the year last week, the communist government said Wednesday.

The north of Vietnam has been in the grip of a cold snap that has lasted for over a month, bringing rare ice and snow to mountain tops, killing crops and livestock and heightening the risk of flu and other respiratory diseases.

The latest bird flu outbreaks killed nearly 2,500 unvaccinated chicken, ducks and geese in the northern Hai Duong, Nam Dinh and Tuyen Quang provinces, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry said in an online report.

Seven of Vietnam’s 64 provinces and municipalities are now on the bird flu watchlist after reporting poultry cases in the past 21 days — also including northern Thai Nguyen and Quang Ninh, central Quang Binh and southern Long An.

“We will go on nationwide red alert on the risk of bird flu over the next few days,” Bui Ba Bong, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was quoted as telling the Thanh Nien daily newspaper.

“Preventing and fighting H5N1 outbreaks in poultry is extremely urgent and important in preventing and curbing H5N1 outbreaks among humans,” he said, pointing to four human deaths since late December.

Bird flu killed a 27-year-old man from northern Ninh Binh province on February 14 — raising the national death toll from the virus to 50 — having earlier this year claimed the lives of two other men aged 40 and 32.

All of the victims had handled infected poultry, officials said.

The World Health Organisation has so far confirmed 361 human cases of H5N1 bird flu worldwide, of which 227 have died, not including Vietnam’s latest case.

The virus is mainly an animal disease, but scientists fear it could mutate to easily jump from human to human, sparking a deadly global pandemic.

Dead poultry raises bird flu alarm in Vietnam

HANOI, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Dead poultry have been found in rivers and streams in northern Vietnam, a sign of a possible new bird flu outbreak during a prolonged cold spell, officials said on Tuesday.

The Agriculture Ministry said in a report that callers to an animal health department hotline reported large numbers of dead birds in five provinces, but was not specific.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu killed three men in northern Vietnam between Jan. 18 and Feb. 14 during a record-long cold spell. The H5N1 virus seems to thrive best in cool temperatures.

“In recent days the Animal Health Department has received many reports about poultry dying in large numbers in provinces,” the Agriculture Ministry-run department said in a report on its Web site (

“A bird flu outbreak is forecast to emerge in the northern region when cold days extend,” it said.

The department, in a separate report, said that bird flu has killed nearly 2,500 ducks and chickens in the northern provinces of Hai Duong, Nam Dinh and Tuyen Quang, bringing to seven the provinces on the government’s bird flu watchlist.

Animal health workers have slaughtered the remaining 1,900 birds at the three infected farms.

Doctors confirmed at the weekend that a 7-year-old child from the northern province of Hai Duong had the virus. The child has been under treatment in Hanoi along with several suspected cases.

Bird flu has killed 50 people in Vietnam out of 106 infected cases since late 2003, the Health Ministry said.

Officials said they have not been able to control poultry smuggling from northern neighbour China, which reported its latest human death on Monday, bringing its toll to 18.

H5N1 remains mainly a virus of birds, but experts fear it could mutate into a form easily transmitted from person to person and sweep the world, possibly killing millions.

The virus is known to have killed 227 people globally since late 2003, according to the World Health Organisation, not including the latest death in China and two cases in Indonesia in recent days. (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Grant McCool and David Fogarty)