Vietnam has confirmed the first outbreak of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in its northern province of Quang Ninh.

On July 1, the virus was found in samples from a chicken farm located in the province’s Ha Long City, where 200 chickens were found dead last month.

In March, the World Health Organization urged the Vietnamese government to be vigilant of H5N8 human infection, as the H5N6 virus, a similar strain of the virus, spread throughout their poultry.

At that time, Dr. Pawin Padungtod, the senior technical coordinator at The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vietnam, told WHO their avian influenza vaccines should prevent the H5N8 disease in poultry. 

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The Vietnamese authorities said they had taken steps to avoid further spread of the virus. 

The H5N8 virus kills poultry and can infect humans without causing them to become symptomatic. However, WHO has said the likelihood of human-to-human spread remains low at this time.

Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza are rare in the United States since a major outbreak in 2015. The most recent detection was in South Carolina in 2020

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