officials have been ordered to be on the lookout for new bird flu outbreaks
throughout the country, according to Mr. Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, Director of
the Livestocks and Fishing Department of the Ministry of Forest and Agriculture,
who confirmed that his ministry has issued orders to all involved parties to
take necessary measures to closely and thoroughly monitor the bird flu epidemic
across the country, especially in Sayaboury province where the deadly H5N1
strain has been detected in seven
villages of Sayabouly District, resulting in the culling of several thousand poultry. The same measures have been enforced in
Oudomxay and Luang Namtha provinces, which are considered high risk areas where
bird flu outbreaks could reoccur. Both provinces suffered bird flu epidemics
earlier this year.
as a nation linked to other countries such as Thailand, China, and Vietnam
where the bird flu epidemic has been an issue of concern, Laos is also closely
monitoring this disease along its borders, especially at check-points in high
risk provinces, mainly Savannkhet, Champassack, and Vientiane Prefecture. This preventive measure was taken after
reports of fresh bird flu outbreaks in Soukhothai and Outhai Thany provinces in
northern Thailand, which prompted Thai officials to declare nine other northern
provinces as areas that need to be closely monitored. Lao officials believe that smuggling of
poultry from neighboring countries, especially Thailand, is the main cause of
the bird flu outbreaks in Laos. The problem is furthermore
aggravated, as claimed by a high ranking Lao official, by the lack of cooperation from local people
in disclosing the number of their poultry, which makes it difficult to prevent
and monitor this deadly disease.
first faced the bird flu epidemic in 2004, which lasted until early 2005. Vientiane Prefecture was the area most gravely affected, followed by
Champassack, Savannakhet and Khammouane provinces. Oudomxay, Luang Namtha and Sayaboury were the
northern provinces where the Avian flu was also detected in 2004 and where it is now recurring.
officials have so far destroyed poultry and poultry products worth several trillion kips.
However, due to severe budget constraints, the government can only compensate poultry owners up to 60% of their losses. As a result, throughout the
four-year period, the Lao government has to rely mainly on the assistance of
foreign countries in funding projects aimed at intervening and preventing the spread
of bird flu. So far, Laos has received assistance from different external
sources, including the United Nations and the United State, worth as much as US$20
to Songrit’s report for more details in Lao.