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The MinBorder provinces urged to prevent avian flu spreadistry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department has warned eight provinces near the border with Cambodia to step up their prevention and control measures against avian influenza H5N1.

The warning was released after the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia confirmed that five Cambodian people had contracted the disease since the beginning of the year, of whom four died. One of two affected areas was near the Vietnam border.

The provinces were asked to tighten international medical quarantine procedures, detect cases with high or acute respiration inflammation and isolate suspected cases for timely treatment in an effort to prevent the lethal H5N1 virus from spreading to Vietnam.

Provinces were also requested to collaborate with local animal health services to strengthen the supervision of both domestic and imported poultry.

The health ministry also asked medical units to prepare medicines, chemicals and facilities to deal with outbreaks, if any, and to keep an eye on people coming from Cambodia to Vietnam for signs of the flu.

The public should be warned of measures to stay safe from the virus, and veterinary units and local authorities should plan together the supervision of an avian influenza H5N1 outbreak in poultry, should it occur.

Department Deputy Director Tran Thanh Duong said the outbreak of avian influenza H5N1 in Cambodia was a significant threat to Vietnam.

The disease could spread to Vietnam through many channels, such as trade border exchange, poultry smuggling or migrating birds, Duong said.

The eight border provinces are Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Dak Nong in the Central Highlands, and Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Thap and An Giang in the south.

Last year, bird flu hit seven provinces of Vietnam and claimed two deaths. According to the Ministry of Health, 121 H5N1 cases have been reported in Vietnam since 2003, resulting in 61 deaths.

VNA/VOV online

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