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Spraying chemicals at avian flu outbreaks (Source: VNA)
More efforts needed to prevent A/H7N9 from entering Vietnam

The Prime Minister has asked for higher vigilance o­n the spread of A/H7N9 avian flu, which is reportedly breaking out in neighbouring China.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, in the first three months of this year, China had recorded 533 people infected with A/H7N9 and more than 2,000 virological samples from chickens, pigeons and ducks tested positive to the virus. Therefore, Vietnam faces a high risk of the disease through the trade of smuggled poultry and poultry products with unclear origins.

To prevent the virus from entering Vietnam, the Prime Minister requested ministries and localities to ban all types of trading and slaughtering poultry and poultry products across the border between the two countries. Monitoring activities should be expanded at border gates and paths along the borderlines o­n people from A/H7N9 outbreaks as well as at slaughterhouses and markets. Exercises to respond to the avian flu disease o­nce it occurs should be held to have effective preventive measures. It is also necessary to collect samples from the environment and poultry in order to early detect A/H7N9 and other viruses which have yet to be recorded in Vietnam.

Poultry sale, slaughter raise avian flu fears

Tonnes of poultry are illegally traded and slaughtered daily in Hanoi?s markets raising public concern over the spread of avian influenza in the capital.

The Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said despite avian flu has not been so far recorded in the city, there was a risk of infection, especially when outbreaks were reported in neighbouring provinces of Nam Dinh and Bac Ninh.

Moreover, the department said that between 1 and 7 percent of healthy poultry carry the A/H5N1 and A/H5N6 virus. Temporary markets were o­ne of the places prone to spread of the virus.

Bui Dac Hai, deputy head of the Station for Animal Health in Chuong My district, said the slaughtering in the markets certainly did not effectively prevent the spread of epidemic.

The station has regularly inspected poultry sellers and reminded them of the risk of disease outbreaks. However, he said, it was necessary to get help from the city?s authorised agencies to make the supervision effective.

At Thach Bich temporary market o­n National Highway 21B in Thanh Oai district, some 10 households sell live poultry and some even slaughter the fowl o­n the spot to serve customer requests.

A poultry seller identified o­nly as Thanh spoke to Economics and Urban newspaper, saying that although the demand for ducks and chicken has dropped due to concern over avian flu, which has appeared in other parts of Vietnam, she could sell about 50 chickens and ducks per day.

"I mainly buy and resell chickens, ducks sold in wholesale markets, so consumers need not worry about sick poultry," she said.

In Chuc Son market in Chuong My district a separate area has been allocated for poultry trading, but it has failed to meet safety and hygiene regulations. The area was dirty. Chickens and ducks were locked in a large cage. o­ne pot of boiling water was used for slaughtering all the poultry, and slaughters did not wear gloves.

Hanh, a poultry seller, said she does not wear gloves when slaughtering poultry. She admitted that sometimes her poultry, as well as other sellers', were sick. Most were purchased in nearby markets, such as Got Market in Dong Son village and Gom Market in Huu Van commune, she added.

Tonnes of poultry are illegally traded and slaughtered daily in Hanoi?s markets raising
public concern over the spread of avian influenza in the capital (Photo: vipa.org.vn)

Currently, there are more than 400 markets in the city, including two major markets for poultry - Ha Vy in Thuong Tin district and Bac Thang Long in Dong Anh. In Ha Vy market alone, 15-17 tonnes of live poultry are transported from other provinces to the market every day.

Nguyen Ngoc Son, deputy director of the city's Sub-department of Animal Health, admitted that  authorised agencies, local authorities and animal health forces are unable to curb all the slaughtering in local markets because many traders operate o­n a small scale and move continuously to avoid inspectors.

In addition, the fines for violators of between 2-3 million VND were light and the enforcement was lax.

Son said the sub-department has asked the districts' veterinary stations to focus more closely o­n the prevention of bird flu. It has encouraged people to immediately notify the markets' management boards of poultry without clear orgin transported into their localities.

The sub-department also organise disinfection of the markets.

He added that the Ministry of Industry and Trade is collecting opinions o­n its draft regulations o­n food markets. Trading in live cattle and poultry, and slaughtering activities in the markets, would be banned completely under the new regulations.



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