The governor of Luang Namtha has issued an order prohibiting trade and movement of poultry in and across the province. The ban took effect late last week and will last between 30 to 45 days depending on how the situation develops in Muang Long, Muang Sing and Muang Luang Namtha where bird flu outbreaks were reported in February. The ban was issued because provincial authorities are not confident that they can control the outbreaks effectively because even though they have killed all poultry in the affected areas, the disease still continues to spread.
The central government in Vientiane has sent a group of officials to inspect the outbreak and the surrounding areas and issued a statement calling on local people to report unusual sickness in poultry in their areas.
Meanwhile, Mr. Takeshi Kasai, World Health Organization (WHO) expert for the Southeast Asia region said that bird flu will take hold for a long term in the region even though many countries have improved their plans to stop the outbreak, and many experts fear that the virus, which is usually spread directly from a poultry to a human, could mutate into a form easily transmissible from human to human, sparking a deadly global pandemic.
The World Health Organization says more than 200 people have died around the world from the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu since 2003 including 2 people in Laos.
In Laos’ Luang Namtha province, there have been reports of bird flu outbreaks since February in Muang Long, Muang Sing and Muang Luang Namtha. Thousands of chickens have died or been killed after some of the dead chicken tested positive for the deadly virus H5N1.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Lao.