The H5N6 strain of avian influenza has been found for the first time in Vietnam. The virus was found on two farms as part of outbreak disease surveillance conducted by the country’s Department of Animal Health.

The country has had an active surveillance program in place for H5N1 since the virus was first detected in 2003, however, the virus was detected in April this year gave inconclusive test results. The first results were positive for the H5 strain of the virus, but not for N1. Further testing revealed the N6 strain and Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture alerted the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) this month.

Two outbreaks have been reported, one in Lang Son and the other in Ha Tinh. Sampling at surrounding farms proved negative. Fifteen birds are reported to have died from the infection and close to 2,000 have been destroyed. The infected premises were subsequently disinfected.

In addition to control measures at the farms, the Ministry of Agriculture has advised that it is controlling wildlife reservoirs and has introduced screening and movement controls. Weekly follow-up reports will be submitted to the OIE.