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Viet Nam reports outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
Updated: 2004-02-09 13:56

Viet Nam, already grappling with bird flu that has wiped out millions of its poultry and killed 19 people in Asia, has detected a lethal outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in one province, a health official said on Monday.

"The disease has hit us very hard," said an official at the animal health department of the central province of Quang Nam, about 465 miles south of the capital Hanoi.

She said the disease had killed more than 1,000 cattle and 200 pigs from six districts in the province.

"We will try to save the cattle by injecting vaccines but all infected pigs will be slaughtered and destroyed," she said.

Quang Nam is the only province in the country that has reported confirmed cases of the disease, the official said.

Bird flu sweeping parts of Asia has killed 14 people in Viet Nam, and five in Thailand, but foot and mouth disease is harmless to humans, though highly contagious among animals.

Henry Schmick, Agricultural Officer at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, told Reuters that foot-and-mouth outbreaks are not unusual in Viet Nam and the region.

"Periodically, Viet Nam suffers from foot-and-mouth disease," he said, adding that it can take a mild form.

Viet Nam is not a major exporter of pork or beef, he said. The southeast Asian country has a cattle population of nearly eight million and about 23 million swine.

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