The health and agriculture ministries are beefing up measures against bird flu after recent reports of people contracting several deadly virus strains in China.
China reported in recent weeks that six more people were infected with the H9N2 and H7N9 strains, with two of the latter cases being critical, according to the World Health Organization.
Tran Dac Phu, director of the Ministry of Health’s preventive health department, said the viruses have not been detected in Vietnam, but the chance of their invasion is “very high” given increasing traffic and trading activities along the border during year end.
Vietnam has huge demand for chicken during the Lunar New Year, which will come around in a month and a half, and a lot is sold to Vietnam via border trade, where quality checks are not effective.
Phu said people should not use chicken of dubious origins and alert health officials about sick or dead poultry in their neighborhood.
H7N9 is a new rare strain first detected in China in March 2013 and described by the WHO as “an unusually dangerous virus for humans.” It had infected 486 people, killing 185, as of the beginning of this year, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.