[health-vn] Sheep and goats from United Arab Emirates die of zoonotic diseases
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Sun May 17 09:16:34 EST 2009
Last Updated: Saturday, May 16, 2009 23:04:08 Vietnam (GMT+07)
Sheep and goats from UAE die of zoonotic diseases
Animal health officials disembowel a dead goat at a farm in Ninh Thuan
Province. Nearly a third of 2,946 sheep and goats imported from the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) since February have died and tests have found the presence of
bacteria that can infect humans.
The animals were brought under a cooperative program between Vietnam and the
Middle-Eastern country through the UAE’s company Tamouh Investments LLC.
Under the program, Tamouh would give loans to local farmers in south central
Ninh Thuan Province for raising the sheep and goats, and their meat would be
exported back to the UAE.
The Ninh Thuan Center for Promotion of Agriculture and Aquaculture reported on
Tuesday that 562 sheep and 400 goats had died, while 700 others had been removed
from the herds because they were too old and weak.
Nguyen Xuan Binh, vice director of the Animal Health Agency Zone No. 6 under the
Animal Health Bureau, said tests done on the dead animals found zoonotic
bacterial diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those that animals can pass on to
humans, like rabies, anthrax or ringworm.
“Three of four samples sent to Australia tested positive for the Brucella and
Leptospira bacteria and the bluetongue virus,” he said.
The bacteria cause Brucellosis (undulant or Maltese fever) and Leptospirosis
(Weil’s disease or seven-day fever) in animals, which can be transmitted to
humans. These bacteria have not been found in other animals in Vietnam thus far,
Binh said strict measures were necessary to prevent possible spread of the
diseases to other animals, adding that Ninh Thuan has the largest population of
goats and sheep at around 150,000.
Local authorities should keep the animals in a separate area and run additional
tests because there might be other diseases yet to find, he said.
The Ninh Thuan agriculture department on Tuesday instructed the provincial
Animal Health Agency and Center for Promotion of Agriculture and Aquaculture to
vaccinate the imported goats and sheep selected to breed and take blood samples
of every animal to test for Brucella and Leptospira bacteria and the bluetongue
The rejected ones should be slaughtered properly or destroyed if found with any
disease, the department said.
Pham Dinh Hai, deputy head of Ninh Thuan Animal Health Agency, said the animals
were imported during the dry season and they have become undernourished due to
lack of food, which might have led to weakness and disease.
Earlier, the center had reported that the animals had died after diarrhea attacks.
Tamouh Investments LLC had offered the goats and sheep through the local Hung
The animals were quarantined for 45 days in three farms in Ninh Thuan before
being handed to local farmers for breeding.
Thanh Nien visited the farm of Duong Dinh The in Nhi Ha Commune, Ninh Phuoc
District on Thursday and found several animals dying. The farm had around 2,000
of the imported animals.
“The animals are supposed to be used for breeding but they are really
disparate,” he said. “Some have flat bodies with long hair while others have
lopsided ears with long hooves. They have also become too weak as they are
An agriculture official in Ninh Thuan Province said the animals had no identity
documents although they were used for breeding.
“We couldn’t identify what breed they belong to,” he said. “We have to select
those that are active, healthy, have smooth hair and balanced feet to use for
He also said they had to guess the animals’ age by studying their teeth because
of the lack of identity papers.
Reported by Thien Nhan
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