Smuggled poultry blamed for spreading bird flu

VIETNAM - Hired runners strap bamboo cages loaded with 20 live chickens onto their backs in China. Under cover of darkness, they navigate well-worn footpaths across a mountain into Vietnam, where bicycles wait to haul the clucking contraband away.

The smugglers easily evade patrols along the rugged 1,350-kilometer (840-mile) border by using two-way radios and a network of illegal crossings that have become gateways for a new threat _ bird flu.

Vietnam estimates about 4,500 chickens are trafficked into the country this way every day from China in a trade that is nearly impossible to police because of scarce resources.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has recently shown up in samples taken from confiscated birds, raising the stakes in Vietnam's battle to shift from thehardest-hit country to one that has successfully contained the virus.

Source: Ohmy News
calendar icon 27 April 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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