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Laos reports bird flu outbreak
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Samples from dead ducks in Laos' northern Luang Prabang province have been tested positive to bird flu virus, prompting local authorities to cull thousands of poultry to curb the disease's spread, Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Tuesday.

The authorities, already culling 3,000 fowls, plan to cull over7,000 others in the province's Nambak district. Ducks started to die on Aug. 27. They have been banned from transport, trade and consumption in the district.

No human cases have been recorded, and Lao authorities are advising locals to take preventative measures.

Laos used to rely on bird flu laboratory tests from Thailand and Vietnam. The construction of a testing facility in Laos last year enables local officials to independently confirm bird flu outbreaks, the newspaper said. A new international standard laboratory, funded by the Japanese government, is currently under construction in Laos' Vientiane capital city.

Earlier this year, a bird flu outbreak occurred in northern Luang Namtha province, and local authorities culled thousands of fowls to halt the spread of the disease, said the newspaper.

Several bird flu outbreaks have occurred in Laos since 2004. The most serious outbreak happened in 2007 when two human fatalities were confirmed in the capital city and northern Vientiane province, the newspaper said.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2008)

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