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APEC reps meet in capital to review bird flu action plan
10 | 08 | 2007
Representatives from the 21 member countries of APEC are in Ha Noi to review their efforts in implementing a regional action plan on combating avian flu.

The plan was adopted at the APEC health ministers meeting last May in Da Nang City.

The two-day workshop, which ends today, will likely result in recommendations on capacity building to prevent and cope with outbreaks. They will be presented at the 2007 minister’s meeting in Australia this June.

"Given the divergent economic conditions in APEC, more focus should be given to capacity building, especially for developing member economies, to improve the response to avian flu," said Le Cong Phung, Viet Nam’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, during a speech to delegates.

Phung said better international co-operation will enhance the region’s reaction to the threat of bird flu.

Yesterday’s session saw representatives of each economy present their progress in implementing the action plan as well as the challenges they’ve faced. Officials from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Animal Health Department made a presentation about the nation, one of the hardest-hit countries by bird flu’s emergence.

The group highlighted Viet Nam’s success in containing the outbreaks and its continued efforts to educate its population on the virus’ dangers by making this a Government priority and by detecting the flu’s spread early on to immediately respond via communications campaigns, vaccination programmes and receiving international support.

Fresh outbreak

In other news, the animal department has confirmed a new bird flu outbreak in the central province of Nghe An, which has been free of the virus for several months.

Some 246 ducks died of avian flu in Dien Chau District’s Dien Tho Commune between May 1st and 4th, according to confirmed reports.

Local veterinarians culled the 610-duck flock that was not vaccinated and disinfected the breeding pens. Nghe An authorities have also set up quarantine checkpoints to prevent sick birds from being transported out of the affected area and begun a new vaccination campaign.

The second phase of the national vaccination campaign has been conducted in 60 out of 64 provinces and cities nationwide, according to department officials, but localities must step up post-vaccination supervision

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