Bird flu pandemic seems to be rearing its head once again. In any case it is raging in Vietnam. For its part China has begun to stockpile huge quantities of the relevant vaccine.
Seven provinces of Vietnam are already declared stricken by the diseas, with two more provinces added to the list, according to the Department of Animal Health of Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development here on Wednesday.
In Quang Tri, the virus attacked a local farm, leading to the culling of 250 ducks of a flock of 1,000, said the department.
Meanwhile, bird flu was broken out in northern Bac Ninh province when unvaccinated ducks tested positive to the H5N1 virus, an official from the department told Xinhua without revealing details on number of dead ducks.
The local animal health agencies are taking drastic measures to put out the spread of avian flu.
Amid the ongoing breaking out of the disease, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent an urgent message to people's committees of all levels across the country to urge them take immediate action to prevent the spread of bird flu which has hit seven provinces in the country.
The Prime Minister also asked localities to make public information of bird flu cases both in fowl and human, closely control infected areas, and ban transport of poultry.
Meantime neighbouring China has built up stockpiles of domestically produced human bird flu vaccine in case of a possible epidemic, the nation's food and drug regulator said here Wednesday.
The vaccine, Panflu, is produced by the Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Co., Ltd. It is designed to defend humans from 18 to 60 years old against the H5N1 virus and its epidemic variety, said Yan Jiangying, a spokeswoman with the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
According to the Health Ministry, China has recorded eight cases of human bird flu since December with five fatalities.
"In consideration of the serious situation, we've adopted a new measure of simultaneous inspections of the vaccine. That is, the administration and the company check the products at the same time, for efficiency, thus they can be immediately brought into use if outbreaks erupt," Yan said.
She explained that as production of the vaccine takes time, sufficient quantities must be stored ahead of any outbreaks so vaccinations can be started immediately.
Many other countries have also stored human bird flu vaccines in anticipation of a sudden outbreak, she said.
SFDA authorized Sinovac to begin commercial production of the vaccine in April 2008 after more than two years of clinical trials, making China the world's second country with the technology and industrial capacity to produce human bird flu vaccine.
China started clinical research and experiments as part of the process of making a vaccine in November 2005, after a domestic outbreak caused huge losses for poultry breeders.