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Bird flu confirmed to have spread to 11 provinces in Vietnam

HANOI, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Bird flu has been confirmed to have spread to 11 provinces in Vietnam with 24 outbreaks, said the website of the Department of Animal Health under Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on Tuesday.

The Eleven provinces include five southern provinces of Long An, Ca Mau, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria- Vung Tau, four central provinces of Dak Lak, Kon Tum, Tay Ninh, Phu Yen, and two northern provinces of Nam Dinh, Lao Cai, said the website.

Up to now, Vietnam's total sick poultry was 23,819 and the national total of culled poultry was 30,777.

In addition to bird flu outbreaks in eleven above-mentioned provinces, several small epidemics occurred in some localities but were discovered and promptly processed without spreading.

About 15 working groups of MARD's department of animal health have been established to examine and direct the work of bird flu prevention and control in localities.

Late Monday, Le Muon, deputy director of the department of agriculture and rural areas of central Quang Nam province, which is hit hardest by bird flu, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) online newspaper that up to date, the situation of bird flu in the province is stabilized.

The province is basically controlling the epidemic and there is no arising outbreak.

The province has culled over 11,000 poultry, mainly ducks and vaccinated over 60,000 poultry, said Tuoi Tre.

According to an online conference with the local authorities on implementing action plan to prevent bird flu that can be infectious to human on Tuesday, Vietnam's MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat said that alive poultry markets are requested to be sealed off for at least one day each month to sterilize the areas.

The country strictly bans any form of living poultry exchanges among people across borders to prevent epidemic outbreak, said Phat.

According to Tran Dac Phu, head of General Department of Preventive Medicine under Vietnam's Ministry of Health, there is a high risk of disease outbreak through boundary markets. It is necessary to increase local people's awareness to effectively combat the spread of deadly bird flu, said Phu.

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