Blue-ear pig disease recurs in central, southern Vietnam

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A health official sprays sterilizers to contain the spread of blue-ear disease among pigs in Quang Tri Province

Agriculture authorities in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Quang Nam have announced blue-ear outbreaks among local pigs, while the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is dealing with the same problem.

Quang Tri authorities listed 681 sick pigs as of February 27, including 120 which have either died or been culled, since the disease was first reported on February 18.

Officials said locals had bought pigs of dubious origins from outside the province.

They said some families' pigs started getting sick in January, but that authorities were not informed until 206 pigs belonging to five families had already died.

The provincial animal health department has sent vaccinations to affected districts and their surrounding areas. It has requested that the agriculture ministry to provide 30,000 vaccinations and 20,000 liters of sterilizers.

Mobile units have also been set up in the nearby province of Quang Nam to check the slaughter and transport of pigs to contain the spread of the disease that was said to have returned, infecting nearly 2,800 pigs since February 12.

Officials suspected sick pigs might have caused the death of two local butchers Pham Thi Nguyet and Nguyen Nguyen, who died from swine bacteria on February 8 and 10 respectively.

Le Muon, deputy director of the Quang Nam Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the disease is likely to spread and that residents must help slow it by not butchering or selling sick pigs.

Muon said local authorities have ordered that sterilizers be sprayed to contain the disease, asking the Health Ministry to provide nearly 4,000 liters of chemicals for that purpose, plus 19,000 vaccination shots for the remaining herds.

He said nearly 500 of the sick pigs have been culled. The province is raising around 500,000 pigs.

Officials in Bac Lieu Province also said February 23 that blue-ear has broken out and is spreading widely.

Vietnam's agriculture ministry in March last year announced that Vietnam was free from the disease, but it reappeared soon after in many northern provinces and then in the south in June. According to current regulations, a locality is considered free of an infectious disease if no new cases are reported for three weeks.

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