Avian Flu Kills Cormorants
In Vietnam Bird Sanctuary

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
From ProMed Mail
From Martin Gilbert MRCVS, BVMS
Field Veterinarian
Field Veterinary Program,
Wildlife Conservation Society - Cambodia
30 cormorants in a bird sanctuary in Vietnam's southern Dong Thap province have suddenly died recently, prompting the local authorities to close all wild bird eco-tourism sites, local media reported Tuesday [15 Nov 2005].
The black cormorants died in Gao Giong, one of the most famous eco-tourism sites in the Mekong Delta, and specimens from the birds are being tested for bird flu viruses, newspaper Youth quoted Duong Nghia Quoc, vice director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, as saying.
The provincial authorities will officially close all wild bird sanctuaries, including Tram Chim national park, the stork garden of My An, and the 2 eco-tourism sites of Gao Giong and Xeo Quyt, to prevent potential bird flu spread to humans as well as protect the birds.
Recently, Vietnam's 2 biggest cities, the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, ordered residents of their inner areas not to raise ornamental birds as of 15 Nov 2005 and 30 Nov 2005, respectively.
Early in November 2005, the Vietnamese government decided to cease import of all kinds of poultry, including ornamental birds and related products that have not undergone temperature or chemical treatment, from bird flu-hit countries.
Since 1 Oct 2005, bird flu has been detected in 85 communes in 14 localities, killing and leading to the forced culling of nearly 440 000 fowl, according to Vietnam's Veterinary Department.
Vietnam has detected 65 human cases of bird flu infections, including 22 fatalities, in 25 cities and provinces since December 2004, the Health Ministry announced on 15 Nov 2005, noting that the accumulated numbers of bird flu infections and fatalities since December 2003 are 92 and 42, respectively.
The government has just decided to allocate additional 1 trillion 306 billion Vietnamese dong (VND) (over 82.6 million US dollars) for combating bird flu outbreaks in humans this year. The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance, on 10 Nov 2005, said it ensured a budget of 4 trillion 915 billion VND (311 million dollars) to realize an urgent plan to cope with bird flu in humans, including more than 1 trillion VND (63 million US dollars) to be used from now to the end of 2005 for the prevention.
Martin Gilbert MRCVS, BVMS
Field Veterinarian
Field Veterinary Program,
Wildlife Conservation Society - Cambodia
House 21, Street 21 (Tonle Bassac)
PO Box 1620
Phnom Penh
email -
(Dr Martin is gratefully acknowledged for sending the above newswire and for providing the following informative observations:
"There are 3 species of cormorant in Indochina: little cormorant, _Phalacrocorax niger_; Indian cormorant, _Phalacrocorax fuscicollis_; and great cormorant, _Phalacrocorax carbo_. Each of these appears to be resident in neighbouring Cambodia, although other populations of great cormorants are known to be migrants. Indian cormorant is the commonest of the 3 in Cambodia".
Great cormorants have been mentioned as one of the species found infected with HPAI H5N1 in Lake Qinghai, northern China, in May 2005. The exact identity of the involved birds and results of their laboratory tests will be appreciated. - Mod.AS)
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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