Animal health officials in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau have culled 4,000 ducks of a farmer as their samples tested positive for bird flu virus H5N1, the first outbreak to be reported in the country for months.
Nguyen Thanh Huy, director of the provincial animal health department, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday that they sent samples for testing after the farmer, Lu Van Vo, informed them five days ago that the ducks kept skipping meals and dying.
The ducks were more than 20 days old.
Vo said he bought the ducks from unregistered sources and had asked local officials to give them the first vaccine shot against bird flu.
The province’s animal health officials have beefed up surveillance for other outbreaks.
H5N1 has killed three people in the country this year, including Huynh Thanh Tuan, 30, of Nha Trang, a 52-year-old man from Binh Phuoc Province and a 60-year-old woman from Dong Thap Province, both in the south.
The strain has been ravaging Vietnam since it re-emerged in 2003 and has claimed 65 lives so far, one of the highest fatality rates in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Vietnam during the first quarter this year reported around 70 H5N1 outbreaks ravaging in 23 cities and provinces including Hanoi, with an average of two new outbreaks occurring every day in February.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has caused 649 human cases worldwide, with 385 of them dying, the WHO said.
Vietnam has seen several bird flu strains, including H5N1 and H1N1, infecting humans in recent years.
Officials detected the H5N6 strain for the first time in August at two poultry farms in the northern mountainous province of Lang Son and Ha Tinh in the central.
They said although H5N6 is highly pathogenic, the risk of human-to-human remains low.
According to the Ministry of Health regulations, a city/province can declare the end of a bird flu epidemic if no infections are detected 21 days after the last outbreak was announced.