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Vietnam has declared it has stamped out the bird flu epidemic, which killed 16 people in the country and wiped out millions of poultry, following more than one month of no new outbreaks. "As of today we are free of bird flu," Bui Quang Anh, director of the animal health department of the agriculture... 顯示更多 Vietnam has declared it has stamped out the bird flu epidemic, which killed 16 people in the country and wiped out millions of poultry, following more than one month of no new outbreaks.

"As of today we are free of bird flu," Bui Quang Anh, director of the animal health department of the agriculture ministry, told Reuters on Tuesday.

The announcement drew wary reactions from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, particularly since a 12-year-old boy died just two weeks ago from the H5N1 virus in Vietnam.

"A lot of caution is required. There's still a lot of potential for a new outbreak," said Peter Horby, epidemiologist at the United Nations' health agency.

The WHO has not received official confirmation from the Ministry of Health about the most recent fatality, Horby said.

FAO Vietnam representative Anton Rychener said his agency was not consulted on the bird flu-free declaration.

"The international community does not have any evidence to say the contrary, but we nonetheless caution the government to not announce it prematurely," Rychener told Reuters.

While Vietnam has said it will require safety certification of poultry and eggs sold in markets, Rychener said the country lacked the capacity to properly police the products.

Thailand, where eight people have died from the virus, has not officially declared the epidemic over. But China said earlier this month it had stamped out the disease, which may have originated from migratory birds.

About 38 million poultry in Vietnam either died from the disease or were culled, representing about 15 percent of the country's fowl.

Earlier this month, the FAO urged affected nations not to restock poultry farms too quickly to prevent the disease from flaring up again.

The virulent H5N1 avian flu virus spread across much of Asia from late 2003, causing the death or culling of more than 100 million fowl.
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