The new outbreak of H5N1 strain in Laos led to the mass culling of more than 200 chickens in Laos and 310,000 hens in an egg-producing village in northeastern Thailand.
Thai officials said that the virus could have come to Thailand through contaminated eggs trays. But they also said that they would provide all the help needed to fight the disease effectively. Livestock Development chief Yukol Limlaemthong said that 78 farms in Nakhon Panom, 740 km (460 miles) northeast of Bangkok, were infected with bird flu shortly after the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed an outbreak in a suburb of the capital, Vientiane.
The FAO said that it is investigating whether the outbreaks in the two countries were related. FAO bird flu expert Laurence Gleeson said that it is critical to find out if the deadly strain H5N1 was in low grade circulation in the back yard farms or that it was introduced from an outside source. He also said that the animal health surveillance system needs to be reviewed. Hence the Agriculture Ministry has asked to implement strict surveillance of cross-border trade. Lao foreign ministry spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy said that all the measures deemed necessary to eradicate the virus was underway and that public awareness campaigns were carried out in all the villages.