H5N1 strikes birds in Laos

Feb 12, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Laos have reported an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in poultry in a northwestern province, the country's first outbreak in about a year.

A Lao newspaper reported today that the outbreak hit birds in Louang Namtha province, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency. About 600 poultry in Nam Ma village died last week, and samples from the birds were positive for H5N1, Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, head of the livestock and fisheries department, told the Lao media.

The department banned the movement and sale of poultry and eggs in the village, sprayed flocks with disinfectants, and said it would cull poultry within a 1-kilometer radius of the village, Xinhua reported.

The last H5N1 outbreaks in Laos were reported about a year ago, when the virus struck birds in and around the capital, Vientiane, as well as in Savannakhet and Champasak provinces, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Elsewhere, agriculture officials in Bangladesh reported that H5N1 outbreaks have struck 40 of the country's 64 districts, according to Feb 10 report from Reuters. Workers culled 12,000 more bids after chickens in the northeastern part of the country died of the virus, the report said.

Bangladesh has culled 560,000 birds on 228 farms since H5N1 first surfaced in the country in March 2007, The Independent, one of the country's English language newspapers, reported today, according to Xinhua.

Livestock minister Maniklal Samaddar has said 823 people have been tested and found to be free of the H5N1 virus, Xinhua reported. He said the government is trying to raise the public's awareness about the virus by sending letters to local government leaders, teachers, and imams of mosques.

See also:

OIE reports on 2008 Laos outbreaks
http://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2008_AI.php

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