A new highly toxic strain of avian influenza, 2.3.2.1 C, has been found in Vietnam after appearing in China in July, according to reports. The virus has affected seven provinces and cities so far: Haiphong, Ha Tinh, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Bac Kan, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ngai, said Hoang Van Nam, head of the Department of Animal Health.

The new strain is different from the H5N1 virus, and the ministry will conduct experiments to see if current vaccines will be effective against it. If not, studies on potential vaccines will begin soon. The Central Veterinary Diagnosis Center is also monitoring and looking into the new strain to help find a specific medication against it.

So far, avian flu has resulted in more than 181,000 chickens and ducks dying or being culled in the affected provinces and cities, said the Department of Animal Health.