Vietnam is fighting a new strain of avian influenza which has spread rapidly across seven provinces, according to local media reports.
Officials told reporters that the strain appears to be a mutation of the H5N1 virus, but poses a bigger threat to human health than previously identified strains.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Animal Health Department, has confirmed that outbreaks of the virus have been identified in provinces including Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Can and Quang Ngai. So far, around 180,000 infected birds have been culled.
MARD is currently investigating the possibility of using current vaccines to protect against the new strain of the virus, and has asked the Animal Health Department to increase controls on the imports of poultry, particularly breeding chicks.