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Bird flu resurfaces in Vietnam's capital after a year
AP - Friday, March 7

HANOI, Vietnam - Vietnamese officials said Friday that bird flu has made a comeback in Vietnam's capital after being held at bay for more than a year, and chided farmers for negligence in fighting the virus.

Bird flu struck a farm in the suburban Soc Son district of Hanoi, killing more than 2,000 unvaccinated ducks, chickens and geese. Test results showed they were infected with the dangerous H5N1 virus, the Department of Animal Health reported on its Web site Friday.

Authorities disinfected and slaughtered the remaining 1,500 birds on the farm, it said.

Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture has asked provinces to intensify efforts to prevent the virus from spreading nationwide.

"Farmers are so negligent now. We have had to issue warnings for better preparations for a possible pandemic, as the virus usually flares up in this cold weather," said Van Dang Ky, an official at the ministry.

Nine provinces which have reported outbreaks over past weeks remain on the bird flu watchlist, Ky said.

The recent wave of outbreaks has killed or led to the slaughter of more than 30,000 birds, according to the ministry.

Bird flu remains hard for people to catch, but health experts worry the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, sparking a pandemic. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds.

At least 235 people have died worldwide from the virus, according to the World Health Organization. In Vietnam it has killed 51 people, with four deaths reported this year.


Posted on 14 Mar 2008

Human Rights Watch


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