HANOI, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Several thousands of ducks in Vietnam's southern Soc Trang province have died in the last few days, Vietnam News Agency reported Monday.

Some 4,000 ducks in two farms in the province's Nga Nam and Thanh Tri districts have been either killed by an identified disease or culled by local relevant agencies. Specimens from the affected waterfowls are being tested for bird flu viruses.

The Vietnamese government has asked sectors and localities nationwide to focus their anti-disease activities on surveillance, detoxification, vaccination, quarantine, and control over transport and trade of poultry and related products.

Bird flu has, since December 2006, hit 33 communes in 15 districts in the three southern provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Hau Giang, according to the Department of Animal Health under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday. It has killed some 6,000 poultry, and led to the forced culling of nearly 23,000 others, mainly ducks and chickens.

Bird flu outbreaks, starting in Vietnam in December 2003, have killed and led to the forced culling of dozens of millions of fowls in the country.