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H5N6 bird flu virus found for first time in Vietnam

Friday, August 15, 2014, 14:24 GMT+7
H5N6 bird flu virus found for first time in Vietnam
Technical staff from the animal disease prevention and control center inject chickens with the H5N1 bird flu vaccine in Shangsi county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, April 3, 2013.

Veterinary authorities have reported two fresh outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu in the northern provinces of Lang Son and Ha Tinh for the first time in Vietnam.

>> Vietnam among 6 Asian countries prone to H7N9 bird flu>> H7N9 virus more virulent than H5N1, ministry says The outbreaks occurred in a herd of chickens in Lang Son’s Trang Dinh District and in a flock of ducks in Ha Tinh’s Ky Anh District, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Veterinary Department said.  On Thursday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long sent dispatches to the People’s Committees of provinces and cities nationwide, warning about the appearance of the H5N6 bird flu virus strain for the first time in the country. This extremely toxic virus strain has yet to be proven to transmit from human to human, the ministry said in its notice. All local authorities should keep a close watch on the fatal strain to detect it soon from poultry, the ministry said. In a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on August 12, the department said a total of 1980 birds were found susceptible, out of which 950 birds were found to be infected. A total of 15 deaths were reported and the remaining 1965 birds were destroyed, the report said.

According to the OIE, all poultry in affected flocks were destroyed immediately when clinical signs of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) were detected. Samples were taken from surrounding poultry flocks and all were turned up negative for the avian influenza, the OIE said. The genetic decoding of samples taken from poultry with the H5N6 virus strain in the two Vietnamese provinces shows that this type is 99 percent identical to the H5N6 variety that killed a 49-year-old man in the Chinese province of Sichuan in April this year, the department said. This is the first reported case of the H5N6 virus in humans in the world, according to the World Health Organization.  In July 2014, Laos also found poultry infected with the same virus strain, the organization added.

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