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Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease Beware!
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Foot and mouth disease still rife in Laos
 
Vientiane Times, 16 March 2010
 
The number of provinces in Laos suffering from foot and mouth
outbreaks in cattle and buffaloes is increasing, according to the 16th
meeting of the Sub-Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease in Southeast
Asia.
 
“Incidences of the disease are increasing because Laos is located in
the centre of the Indochina peninsula,” Minister of Agriculture and
Forestry Sitaheng Rasphon said at the conference, which is taking
place in Vientiane from March 15-19.
 
“The main source of infection is suspected to be animal movements,” he
added.
 
Many animals are imported for domestic consumption, and re-exportation
of animals from Thailand to Vietnam and China is increasing.
 
The number of provinces with foot and mouth disease outbreaks has been
increasing since 2006, which saw only one province affected. Outbreaks
occurred in two provinces in 2007 and in six provinces in both 2008
and 2009.
 
Mr Sitaheng said that to control foot and mouth disease, the ministry
has to make an effort to minimise the spread of the disease with
support from international organisations, and bilateral agreements
with Thailand, Vietnam and China.
 
The meeting also discussed the recent outbreaks of two dangerous human
diseases: the avian influenza pandemic in 2004 and the spread of the
influenza A(H1N1) virus in 2009.
 
During the avian influenza pandemic, which affected the poultry
industry and caused two human deaths in Laos, the ministry implemented
control measures against the disease in collaboration with the
Ministry of Health and international organisations.
 
Livestock and Fisheries Department Director, Dr Bounkhouang
Khambounheuang, said that similar measures would be needed to control
foot and mouth disease.
 
“Our responsibility in participating in this 16th meeting is to find
ways to set up short-, medium- and long-term work plans to effectively
prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease.”
 
The livestock sector plays an important role in the national economy
and is one component of the poverty alleviation programme, he said.
 
The 15th meeting of the Sub-Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease in
Southeast Asia was held in Malaysia.
 
The 16th meeting this week is well attended with about 100
participants, including a delegation from the Sub-Commission for Foot
and Mouth Disease in Southeast Asia, international donors, and other
partner organisations.


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