Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has warned people against eating tiet canh a traditional Vietnamese dish of blood and cooked meat as it may cause dangerous infections.
Phat told a government meeting Thursday that Vietnamese people usually eat tiet canh after some worship rituals before the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
Traditionally, people slaughtered chickens, ducks or pigs for worship and used the blood to make tiet canh.
Phat said the blood may easily transfer harmful bacteria to humans and cause diseases such as group A streptococcal infections, which can lead to death in a matter of weeks.
He also warned against the resurgence of bird flu this year, as the H5N1 virus has been found at more than 61 percent of 147 live fowl markets surveyed in 44 cities and provinces.
Health authorities have been warning of bird flu pandemics ahead of the country's biggest holiday Tet, when demand for fowl increases and fuels the smuggling of birds from rural areas to cities.
Mekong Delta provinces bordering Cambodia, where there are currently H5N1 epidemics, and are the main suppliers of fowls to Ho Chi Minh City.
Authorities should tighten the crackdown on fowl smuggling activities in border areas, according to minister Phat.