Vietnam reports first H5N8 avian flu outbreak in poultry

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam on Friday confirmed its first outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza at a chicken farm in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Samples from the farm in the province’s Ha Long City tested positive to the virus a day earlier, the agriculture ministry said in a news release.

It said the tests were conducted after around 200 chickens had been found dead at the farm last month.

“H5N8 not only kills poultry but also infects humans without leaving symptoms,” the head of the province’s animal health department, Tran Xuan Dong, said.

The authorities had taken measures to prevent the disease from spreading further, it said, without elaborating.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week the risk of human-to-human spread of the H5N8 strain of bird flu appears low, after seven people in Russia contacted the virus but were asymptomatic.

H5N8 outbreaks were reported last year in poultry or wild birds in Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Russia, according to the WHO.

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