Vietnam is focusing on maintaining close bird flu surveillance, ensuring sufficient provision of medicines and equipment, and accelerating vaccination among fowls, to prevent possible bird flu outbreaks among people and contain the disease among poultry.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to coordinate with the Ministry of Health to keep close surveillance on bird flu among fowls, and factors relating to bird flu patients.
He said the Ministry of Information and Communications should, in coordination with the health and agriculture ministries, timely disseminate information about bird flu situations and ways of preventing and combating the disease. Local residents are advised not to use dead or sick fowls, or those with unclear origins.
The prime minister also asked the Ministry of Health to provide specific guidelines on bird flu prevention and treatment, and coordinate with localities to early detect and timely cure human cases of bird flu infections, and ensure sufficient provision of medicines, chemicals and equipment in preparedness for potential outbreaks.
The Ministry of Health has set up 69 mobile anti-bird flu teams in all 64 cities and provinces, which are tasked to timely detect suspected cases, and provide relevant bird flu medicines and protective gears to the localities.
Besides, bird flu-hit localities should rapidly contain the disease, disinfect and detoxificate affected areas, strengthen management and inspection of poultry movement, and intensify bird flu vaccination among fowls, Dung said.
Recently, Cao Duc Phat, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and chairman of Vietnam's Anti-Bird flu Steering Committee, has urged localities to establish surveillance teams right at communes.
Regarding bird flu vaccination, Vietnam will import additional 500 million doses of bird flu vaccines for poultry nationwide this year, said the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vietnam, which imports bird flu vaccines for fowls mainly from China and the Netherlands, plans to mass produce the vaccines soon, according to sources from some local animal health institutes.
To date, Vietnam has confirmed a total of 105 human cases of bird flu infections, including 51 fatalities, since the disease started to hit the country in December 2003.
Since the beginning of this year, four Vietnamese people have died of bird flu. The latest human case of bird flu infection was a 23-year-old woman teacher from northern Phu Tho province who died on Feb. 25 after five days of treatment in Hanoi.
Vietnam currently has nine localities having poultry being hit by bird flu: six including capital Hanoi in the northern region, one in the central, and two in the southern region, according to the Department of Animal Health.
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.