Vietnam's agriculture ministry has asked the government for funds to purchase 100 million doses of vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus from China in an effort stop the disease from spreading.
A Tuoi Tre report Saturday quoted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as saying that nearly 17,000 fowl have been culled as the flu has spread to many provinces across the country.
Most of the provinces are in the northern region, the ministry said.
However, due the lasting cold weather, the disease is threatening to spread to the southern and central regions as well, it stressed.
Additionally, the virus in the North has mutated, according to the ministry.
In January the H5N1 virus killed two people in Vietnam - an 18-year-old duck farmer and a 26-year-old pregnant woman after an absence of more than one year in humans.
Since 2003, bird flu outbreaks have killed and led to the forced culling of tens of millions of fowl in Vietnam, which is among the countries most affected by H5N1.
According to a World Bank report in October last year, 119 human cases of the disease were confirmed in Vietnam as of March 2011, of which 59 were fatal.