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Spread of animal diseases threatens Vietnam's livestock industry

Spread of animal diseases threatens Vietnam's livestock industry

Sunday, March 12, 2023, 10:04 GMT+7
Spread of animal diseases threatens Vietnam's livestock industry
A photo shows a farmer feeding his cows. The widespread diseases of poultry and cattle is at high risk. Photo: N. Tri / Tuoi Tre

The poultry and livestock industry is facing a heightened risk of the spread of animal diseases such as bird flu and African swine fever.

Many localities are expected to be hit by these diseases, so they should brace for the worst-case scenario to prevent the widespread to minimize losses on cattle and poultry, a representative of the Department of Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development told a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday. 

According to the department, in 2022, the country reported 1,256 clusters of African swine fever (ASF) in 54 cities and provinces, culling 60,442 infected pigs.

As of March 7, Vietnam had detected 68 clusters of ASF in 22 cities and provinces, resulting in over 2,980 pigs slaughtered, dipping by 50 percent, 87.4 percent and 87.95 percent in the number of localities, disease clusters and culled pigs, respectively, from the year-ago period.

In spite of lower disease severity, the Department of Animal Health warned of a high risk of the spread of ASF to many localities.

The virus is very dangerous to pigs, can stay viable for a long time in the environment and spreads through several complicated ways, while the number of farming households accounts for a large proportion. 

Furthermore, poor weather conditions weaken the health of cattle and poultry, but increase the spread of disease outbreaks.

As for the bird flu, in the year to March 7, the nation had discovered four clusters of the influenza A virus subtype H5N1 (A/H5N1) in four districts of four provinces.

About 6,560 infected poultry were killed. Compared to 2022, the number of clusters tumbled 33.3 percent, while the number of culled poultry dipped by 71.3 percent.

Nguyen Van Long, head of the Department of Animal Health, said that the risk of the widespread of the bird flu is high due to many flocks of poultry, the large number of small farms and poor veterinary hygiene conditions.

Many poultry flocks get unvaccinated, while several bird flu variants such as H5N1, H5N6 and H5N8 survive in many localities, at a high rate of 6 percent.

In addition, the skin disease on buffaloes and cows is developing complicatedly, with 14 clusters having been detected in some cities and provinces over the past few days.

“The provincial and municipal authorities should stay on high alert for animal diseases to promptly take aggressive measures in the fight against these diseases in line with the Law on Veterinary, and launch vaccination drives for cattle and poultry.

“Moreover, the provinces and cities should improve biosafety in production and build disease-free farming areas,” said Long. 

A representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the ministry would propose the prime minister allow drafting a decree on special mechanisms and policies for animal disease control and prevention.

The farming industry is following the government’s Decree 02/2017, but it is tough and complicated to amend and supplement the decree due to its involvement in many other fields.

Earlier on February 26, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien issued an urgent telegraph asking provinces and cities to take more drastic measures to prevent the spread of A/H5N1.

The provinces and cities were told to quickly check and monitor animal farms, and tighten control over illegal transport of animals to Vietnam.

The nation’s neighbor, Cambodia, has detected a human fatality of A/H5N1, the local media reported.

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Tieu Bac - Nguyen Tri / Tuoi Tre News

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