The number of bird flu outbreaks in Vietnam appears to be decreasing but the disease could resurface at any time, the Department of Animal Health warned today (3 January).

A reduction in the number of reported outbreaks has been attributed to the government’s efforts to halt the spread of the disease. Measures have included tightened control of the transportation and slaughter of poultry, increased farm hygiene and a large-scale vaccination programme.

It is also recognised that an early winter and the fact that Tet, the celebration of the lunar New Year with its increased movement in people and poultry, has fallen later in the month may have played a part. 

Nineteen out of 24 provinces throughout the country have not reported an outbreak of avian influenza in more than 21 days, the period necessary to declare the disease under control, Hoang Van Nam, deputy director of the Department of Animal Health, told local press.

Nevertheless, the government remains wary.

“This year may be different from previous years when bird flu outbreaks peaked in January and February,” said Hoang Van Nam, deputy director of the Department of Animal Health. “We cannot rule out the possibility that outbreaks may flare up again.”