FAO urges Vietnam to implement national emergency against swine flu



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The outbreak of the swine flu virus has spread to 17 provinces of Vietnam

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, HANOI – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Tuesday (19/03) suggested that Vietnam impose an outbreak of African Swine Flu (FSA) that has spread rapidly as a national emergency. The virus was first detected a month ago on three farms in two northern provinces of Vietnam.

"The virus has spread to 17 provinces of North Vietnam with 239 outbreaks confirmed," the FAO said in a statement.

Pork represents three-quarters of the total meat consumption in Vietnam, which has a population of 95 million, where most of the 30 million pigs reared are consumed domestically. "The loss of pigs due to FSA infections and control measures leads to a heavy economic burden for many families in the field," Albert T Lieberg, FAO's representative in Vietnam, told a meeting last week with Vietnamese officials.

Vietnam carries out strict controls on the movement of pigs and by-products and destroys more than 25,000 pigs. But the FAO said that small farms with "biosafety" would cause the spread of ASF.

The disease, which can not be cured in pigs, but is not harmful to humans, also spread rapidly in China, a neighbor of Vietnam, last week. Beijing prohibits imports of pigs, wild boar and related products from Vietnam.

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