Vietnam has detected a new bird flu outbreak that has killed hundreds of ducks in a central province, the second outbreak found this month in the country, officials said Thursday.
More than 290 ducks were found dead at a small farm in Quang Tri province this month and tests were positive to H5N1, according to Hoang Van Nam, head of the National Animal Health Department.
The dead ducks were part of a flock of 600 five-day-old ducklings that had not been vaccinated, according to Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of the animal health department of Quang Tri, 580 kilometres south of Hanoi,
"We have culled all the other ducks in the flock, disinfected the farm, put a ban on poultry transport from the commune and vaccinated all the poultry in neighbouring farms," Vinh said.
"However, we still fear that the outbreak may spread any time since the virus may remain out there somewhere," he said.
Earlier this month, another bird flu outbreak was reported in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh after two ducks were found dead at a flock of 250. The outbreak in Tra Vinh was the first after more than two months of no reported cases of avian influenza in Vietnam.
Vietnam has been one of the country's hardest hit by the deadly avian influenza virus known as H5N1, which has caused concern over its potential to infect humans.
At least 46 people have died from the virus, which can be passed to humans who come in contact with uncooked poultry or the poultry's faeces.
The virus has not developed the ability to spread easily between people, but scientists worry that it could mutate to become a new human influenza strain, which could kick off a pandemic that might kill millions.
Vietnam's aggressive poultry vaccination programme has been seen as key to controlling the disease in birds and deny it opportunity to jump to humans.
So far this year, Vietnam has vaccinated 62.6 million birds, including 39.4 million ducks and 23.2 million ducks. dpa kj jh