H5N1 virus in Lao Xayaboury province has not spread to humans

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-31 17:40:16

Xayaboury Provincial Health Department has found no one was infected with the H5N1 virus after hundreds of animals died from the virus in recent weeks, state-run daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.

More than 10 people were suffering from influenza like symptoms when the H5N1 outbreak occurred in the Nator Nhay village of the province. A report from the epidemiology section of the Xayaboury Health Department said that screening had indicated nobody has developed H5N1 infections.

Epidemiology section head Siriphone Khanthakone said that most of the individuals in question had developed flu like symptoms due to the weather and were now back home and on the way to recovery.

Local livestock and fisheries officials took swift action culling a large number of poultry in the area to prevent the spread of the virus.

Over 1,000 ducks and chickens were brought to Xayaboury from Luang Prabang province where they had been imported from a neighboring country. Half of the animals died in transit while the remainder were culled by authorities on arrival.

The delivery was provided by a company aiming to supplement the livelihoods of locals by allowing them to raise poultry for their own consumption or for sale.

Despite the fact that the virus doesn't seem to have spread, officials are on high alert. Relevant sectors have been directed to monitor the situation carefully and people have been warned against eating poultry found already dead.

Citizens have been advised to inform local authorities if they find an animal which has died under mysterious circumstances and to isolate other birds until conclusive results have been obtained.

Provincial Livestock and Fisheries Section Head Somkiet Phengsy said that it was fortunate the H5N1 outbreak occurred in such an isolated village.

The government has instructed relevant sectors to closely monitor the situation and cooperate closely with local authorities. The Department of Livestock and Fisheries has been instructed to ban all poultry imports from neighboring countries that lack proper certification.

Laos was heavily affected by the H5N1 virus between 2008 and 2009, which led to the culling of thousands of animals to keep the outbreak from spreading.

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