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Villagers riot over bird flu enforcement

A MELEE broke out in northern Vietnam when more than 100 villagers prevented authorities from destroying chickens to stop the spread of bird flu, officials said yesterday as the country announced its second H5N1 case.

About 100 villagers in Thuong Tin district just outside Hanoi overwhelmed police and health authorities last Thursday and stopped them from destroying about 1,500 chickens, said official Vu Van Dung.

As about 30 police and health officials removed the poultry from a truck to burn in a pit, the villagers, desperate for the income the birds could provide, grabbed the chickens and ran off.

"I told the villagers that the chickens had been sprayed with chemicals and were not edible, but they didn't listen," Dung said.

"They grabbed chickens from us, and we were overwhelmed."

Meanwhile, in northern Quang Ninh province, tests results confirmed last Friday that a 23-year-old woman was infected with the H5N1 virus.

She was on a respirator after being hospitalized five days ago, hospital deputy director Nguyen Quoc Hung said.

The woman became ill after slaughtering and eating chickens her family was raising. Five other family members who had also eaten the chicken showed no symptoms.

In early January, an eight-year-old girl from northern Thanh Hoa province tested positive for bird flu.

Bird flu has killed 52 people in Vietnam, including five last year, since it began raging through Asian poultry stocks in late 2003.


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