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‘Highly toxic’ bird flu strain hits Vietnam

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A new highly-toxic strain of the potentially deadly bird flu virus has appeared in Vietnam and is spreading fast, according to state media reports.

The strain appeared to be a mutation of the H5N1 virus which swept through the country’s poultry flocks last year, forcing mass culls of birds in affected areas, according to agriculture officials.

The new virus “is quickly spreading and this is the big concern of the government”, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Diep Kinh Tan said, according to a Thursday report in the VietnamNet online newspaper.

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Experts cited in the report said the new virus appeared in July and had spread through Vietnam’s northern and central regions in August.

Outbreaks have been detected in six provinces so far and some 180,000 birds have been culled, the Animal Health department said.

The Central Veterinary Diagnosis Centre said the virus appeared similar to the standard strains of bird flu but was more toxic.

The centre will test how much protection existing vaccines for humans offer, the report said.

Some experts suggested that the new strain resulted from widespread smuggling of poultry from China into the northern parts of Vietnam.

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Two people have died this year from the virulent disease — but long before the new strain was identified.

According to the World Health Organisation, Vietnam has recorded one of the highest numbers of fatalities from bird flu in southeast Asia, with at least 59 deaths since 2003.

The avian influenza virus has killed more than 330 people around the world, and scientists fear it could mutate into a form readily transmissible between humans, with the potential to cause millions of deaths.

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‘I’m getting shot’: Shocking video shows police in Louisville hitting journalists with pepper bullets

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Police fired pepper bullets at a camera crew doing a live broadcast of the police violence protests in Louisville on Friday evening.

"WAVE 3 News reporter Kaitlin Rust appeared to have been hit by rubber bullets reportedly fired by an LMPD officer during a protest in downtown Louisville," the station reported.

Rust was wearing a fluorescent safety vest at the time of the incident.

"I'm getting shot," she shouted.

The news anchor asked, "who are they aiming that at?"

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Missouri loses bid to shut down last abortion clinic in state

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A state judge Friday ruled against an attempt by Gov. Mike Parson’s administration to shut down the lone abortion clinic in Missouri.In a 97-page decision, Administrative Hearing Commissioner Sreenivasa Rao Dandamudi said Planned Parenthood demonstrated that it meets the requirements for renewal of its abortion facility license in St. Louis.“Planned Parenthood has demonstrated that it provides safe and legal abortion care. In over 4,000 abortions provided since 2018, the department has only identified two causes to deny its license,” Dandamudi wrote.“Ultimately, we have n... (more…)

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer, to testify to Congress about pandemic response

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LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will testify before a congressional subcommittee Tuesday about Michigan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said Friday.By then, Whitmer said, she may have news about further loosening of restrictions on Michigan’s economy, she said at a news conference in Lansing.“If it continues this way, I’m optimistic that in the coming days we’ll be in a position to take another step forward,” said Whitmer, adding she has a meeting planned for Saturday with health and other experts about the next step in re-engaging the economy.Whitmer said she will testify befo... (more…)

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