In an impressive burst of action, Vietnam, once the epicenter for bird flu, has temporarily stamped out the disease: no people infected since November, and no poultry outbreaks since December.
The poor communist nation says it accomplished this feat by vaccinating millions of chickens and ducks, slaughtering millions more, by being honest with international health officials, and by educating its citizens.
There were even crackdowns on local delicacies, like duck blood pudding, believed to be the source of at least one death.
[...] Vietnam spent $18.9 million vaccinating 120 million birds last year and plans to immunize 160 million more birds, said Hoang Van Nam, deputy director of the Department of Animal Health. Eighty percent of the poultry sampled after vaccination had enough immunity to protect against the disease and none was found to be carrying the virus.
China claims to have vaccinated all of its 14 billion domestic birds, but it has continued to see outbreaks and human infections. Last week, Shanghai logged its first human bird flu death, bringing the human toll in China to at least 11, according to WHO.
Widespread immunization requires thousands of workers who must keep the vaccine chilled and return to farms to give booster shots three or four weeks after the first inoculation. A third injection is given four months later to poultry raised up to a year. But many birds have much shorter life spans, meaning the cycle constantly starts over.
Read more at CNN.