Bird flu in Vietnam, Cambodia bans poultry imports
55,000 birds were culled in a bird flu outbreak in Vietnam that is affecting four provinces. Factors that heighten the chances of avian flu outbreaks across Vietnam include dense poultry population, extreme weather patterns, and unsanitary meat trade and butchering practices, according to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyen Xuan Cuong. Last year, 133,000 birds have been culled in multiple avian flu outbreaks. The current poultry inventory is about 460 million birds.
Two avian flu virus strains, H5N6 and H5N1, were detected during the current outbreaks. They both spread from poultry to humans through contact with infected faeces or other bodily fluids, and are potentially fatal, warns the Vietnamese authorities.
The situation has triggered alerts in neighboring countries, with Cambodia announcing a ban on poultry imports from Vietnam and a special set of measures to reduce the risk of potential outbreaks.
The strategy announced by Cambodia's Minister of Agriculture, Veng Sakhon, seeks collaboration between institutions here and abroad, particularly with the Vietnamese government, to exchange information on the virus as well as on the trade and production.
The General Directorate of Animal Health and Production was asked to check the biosecurity measures adopted at farms, slaughterhouses and processing plants and to work closely with local authorities to stop illegal imports of poultry and poultry products, especially along the Cambodia-Vietnam border, as well as international airports and ports.
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