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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 09:10, May 16, 2006
Roundup: Vietnam actively copes with foot-and-mouth disease
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Just after bird flu's cooling down in Vietnam, the country is dealing with foot-and-mouth disease which has spread across the nation, hitting thousands of cattle.

To cope with the disease, Vietnam now is taking urgent measures, mainly vaccinating cattle, controlling transport and trade of them, and disinfecting affected areas. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has established an anti-foot-and- mouth disease steering committee, vice head of the ministry's Department of Animal Health Nguyen Van Thong told Xinhua on Monday.

The 11-member committee led by Bui Quang Anh, the department's head, is to organize the implementation preventive measures and instruct localities to fight against the disease, Thong said.

The country has also intensified vaccinate animals, especially those in high-risk areas. "To date, we have vaccinated more than 4. 4 million pigs, bulls and buffaloes, mainly against foot-and-mouth virus type O," he said, adding that the government has offered 640, 000 doses of vaccines free of charges to six poor provinces, namely Binh Dinh and Quang Tri in the central region; Kon Tum and Gia Lai in the central highlands region; Bac Can and Lao Cai in the northern region.

The ministry has proposed the government import 2 million doses of vaccines against the disease's viruses of different types worth some 36 billion Vietnamese dong (VND) (nearly 2.3 million U.S. dollars) from France, the Netherlands and India for the national reserve, Thong said.

Vietnam has planned to spend additional 50 billion VND (over 3. 1 million dollars) on buying vaccines against foot-and-mouth virus type O, A, and Asian 1, from China, France, the Netherlands and India for the 2006-2010 national program on foot-and-mouth disease prevention. The type O-vaccines are expected to be imported mainly from China to serve the prevention work of several northern provinces such as Lang Son, Ha Giang, Quang Ninh, Dien Bien and Lai Chau, he said.

In addition to support from the government, localities have spent their budget on vaccinating animals. Lam Dong, the hardest hit province with 10 out of 12 its districts and towns stricken by the disease, has set aside 6 billion VND (over 377,300 dollars) for cattle vaccination.

The government is urging animal health agencies at different levels, customs, market management, border guard and police forces to closely control the transport of cattle and related products in affected areas and border localities, and strictly deal with cases of cattle smuggling. The disease's current spread is partly due to cross-border smuggling of animals, some of which contract foot-and- mouth viruses, and transport of animals, especially unvaccinated ones, among localities, said Thong.

The government has strictly banned the transport and trade of cattle in affected areas and asked localities to isolate them, he said, adding that quarantine checkpoints have been established along main roads.

Besides, Vietnam has intensified detoxification of affected areas and culling of ill animals. The government has provided 35, 000 liters of detoxification chemicals to some localities to clean affected areas. Affected cities and provinces nationwide have culled nearly 1,500 pigs and some 200 bulls and buffaloes, Thong said.

To support farmers, the ministry has asked the government to compensate them, but has yet to receive response, he said. Recently, the government has asked localities to be active in using their standby state budgets to battle and prevent the disease, and assisting residents whose cattle have been culled.

Lam Dong has offered financial assistance, ranging from 0.2-1 million VND (12.6-62.9 dollars) to raisers for each cattle culled.

The government has also urged localities and relevant agencies to beef up surveillance and propaganda on the disease. Under a regulation drafted by the ministry, the People's Committee of a city or a province must declare foot-and-mouth outbreak in a commune, even in a hamlet when it is spotted there.

To date, foot-and-mouth disease has jumped to 219 communes of 27 cities and provinces nationwide, hitting nearly 9,300 bulls and buffaloes, and roughly 12,500 pigs, Thong said.

Source: Xinhua

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