Via VietNam News: PM tells border areas to watch out for bird flu. Excerpt:
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Tuesday asked authorities, especially those in border provinces, to tighten inspections and control of poultry imports in an attempt to stem a bird flu epidemic.
Drastic measures must be taken to stop unchecked poultry from entering Viet Nam, he said.
"Development of the disease is becoming complicated in Viet Nam and other countries in the world, urging measures to ensure better control of imported poultry, especially poultry that is smuggled into the country," he said.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Animal Health Department, since the beginning of this year, the disease has re-emerged in 20 provinces and cities across the country.
Small outbreaks have been reported in the provinces of Quang Binh, Hai Duong and Hai Phong during the past three weeks.
The outbreaks were caused by a lack of awareness among poultry farmers and poor preparation in disease prevention and control.
Last year, bird flu occurred in 22 provinces and cities in Viet Nam, infecting over 110,000 poultry, with more than 151,000 culled.
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, 61 people have died due to bird flu in Viet Nam since 2003, while the total number of deaths reported around the world is at 358.
You would think that a country that's dealt with H5N1 since 2003 would have a population keenly aware of the problem. But I have yet to see a government that can effectively communicate with its citizens on health issues.
It's frustrating, especially when panic can spread in minutes while health ministries are still composing their news releases. Remember the German E. coli scare, supposedly caused by Spanish cucumbers? Or the voodoo followers lynched in the early stages of the Haitian cholera outbreak?
It brings to mind the famous line of Schiller's: "Mit der Dummheit, kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens"—against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain. And public health workers as well.