H5N1 Bird Flu
'Raging' In Vietnam

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

Hello, Jeff - The following were among the topics sent to me via email. Disturbing to say the least. Now, the University of Hawaii is going to receive Avian Flu virus for experiments. Think of all the places that H5N1 was sent. The genie is out of the bottle. I am sure bird flu will mutate one way or another and cause a pandemic...either in nature or by some lab mishap like we almost saw happen in Texas.
As for Viet Nam, the virus is "raging" there and I don't think it will be eradicated there any time soon.
Age-Old Duck Farming Practice Spreads Bird Flu
Virus Rages In Southern Vietnam
VINH THUAN, Vietnam (AP) -- About 1,400 Pekin ducks waddle inside four long cages within the vessel that serves as a taxi for thousands of waterfowl ferried to feed on leftover grains in newly harvested rice fields across Vietnam's southern Mekong Delta. The story explains it's an age-old practice that has always benefited the area's duck farmers and crops that has been outlawed for helping fan bird flu across eight provinces in one month.
The story story says that the government last week banned the movement of all ducks after the H5N1 virus resurfaced last month following a year-long lull, and that any birds caught in transit can be seized and destroyed, whether they're vaccinated or not.
Ngo Hong Hanh, 57, standing barefoot on the riverbank near his boatload of noisy ducks, was quoted as saying, "I've been roaming my ducks around for more than 30 years. I don't think I can abandon this practice, because it is my main income."
Hanh loads his flock onto boats three or four times a year and travels to vacant fields littered with grains of rice left amid the dry stubble of recently cut stalks. For a small fee, the ducks forage for a month and a half before going home, ridding the fields of unwanted pests and saving Hanh about US$1,500 (¤1,150) in feed costs.
Dinh Cong Than, director of Kien Giang's provincial animal health department, was quoted as saying, "If we can successfully prevent ducks from roaming from one place to another, we can stop the spread of the virus. Our government policy is to change this practice, but I don't think you can do it overnight."
The story notes that authorities have set up road and water checkpoints to try to stop poultry from coming in from outside provinces. Four boatloads of about 5,400 ducks have been intercepted by night patrols in Vinh Thuan, but officials say it's not easy to scour the muddy web of canals and rivers that snake across the country's rice basket.
International experts say it might not be necessary to stop the Mekong practice that has worked so well for generations, as long as the ducks are closely monitored and vaccinated against the H5N1 virus.
Dr. Jeff Gilbert, an animal health expert at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in Hanoi, was quoted as saying, "It's a nice little ecosystem, a good farming practice, but because of its risk with respect to (avian influenza), then it does have to be reviewed and it would be higher risk."
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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Go with God and in Good Health



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