The new strain, 126.96.36.199 C, which has been detected through epidemic investigations, is highly toxic and therefore extremely deadly, Diep Kinh Tan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at a meeting on September 4 to review the epidemic situation.
The 188.8.131.52 C strain has recently spread to Vietnam and is now present in affected areas in seven provinces and cities, namely Haiphong, Ha Tinh, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Kan, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ngai, said Hoang Van Nam, head of the Department of Animal Health (DoAH).
As the new strain is different from the A/H5N1 virus, the ministry is to conduct experiments and tests to confirm if the vaccines that are being used to combat A/H5N1 are also effective against the new strain.
If the existing medication is ineffective, studies on new vaccines against the new strain should be conducted soon, Tan said, adding that he has asked the DoAH to isolate the virus for this purpose.
The Central Veterinary Diagnosis Center is also monitoring and looking into the new strain to help find a specific medication against it.
The avian flu has so far this year severely impacted the seven above-mentioned provinces and cities, with more than 181,000 ducks and chicken having died or been culled, the DoAH reported.
Most of these provinces are involved in smuggling poultry from China that might have carried pathogens that were then spread to domestic poultry, the department said.
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