Thursday, February 26, 2009


Published Date 26-FEB-2009
Subject PRO/MBDS> Foot & mouth disease, bovine - Laos: Vientiane
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 20 Feb 2009
Source: Vientiane Times [edited]

Xaythany district authorities in Vientiane have instructed village
officials to ban farmers from moving and selling livestock during a
foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

About 6 calves have died and more than 60 cattle have been infected
with the disease, according to a report from the district's
Agriculture and Forestry Office.

Cattle can become infected with foot-and-mouth disease if farmers are careless.

District Livestock and Fisheries Unit Head, Mr Thongtem Luangxay,
told Vientiane Times on Wednesday [18 Feb 2009] the district has
trained 2 veterinarians in each village to advise farmers on how to
prevent foot-and-mouth disease and how to treat infected livestock
using traditional methods. Farmers should report to village vets if
their animals become infected or die, to control the spread of the
disease, he said.

"There are several different types of foot-and-mouth disease, and we
don't know which type we have in the district," said Mr Thongtem. "We
are advising farmers to treat the disease using traditional methods
because Laos cannot yet produce a vaccine."

The government has a supply of vaccine obtained from neighbouring
countries but it is limited and is ineffective unless the particular
strain of the disease is known.

"Some types of foot-and-mouth disease cause rapid outbreaks, while
others don't. Each year we vaccinate against other diseases such as
hemorrhagic fever, for which vaccines can be produced in Laos," Mr
Thongtem said.

This year [2009] the 1st signs of the disease in the district were
detected in January [2009] in Vernphaen, Thachampa, and Natan
villages. Farmers say it is not spreading as quickly as last year
[2008]. To deal with the problem, district authorities have trained
village veterinarians in animal health care and treatment.

Mr Thongtem said in the past most farmers were careless in preventing
the spread of the disease and caring for their animals' health. Some
farmers have been vaccinating their livestock while others haven't,
and the district needs to encourage all farmers to vaccinate their animals.

The disease is spread by people bringing infected meats or livestock
to their farms from other areas. Vehicles can also spread the disease
by infecting grasses which livestock graze upon.

[Byline: K hamphone Syvongxay]

Communicated by:

[One point to note is that although the article indicates there are 2
veterinarians per village, there is a high likelihood that the
"village veterinarians" are most probably veterinary technicians or
animal health workers with unknown levels of technical training.

Another noteworthy point, is that the village animal health workers
would not be advising on treating the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
infections per se because the best method of preventing the actual
disease is vaccination against the outbreak strain. However, FMD
virus infection does predispose the animal to secondary bacterial
infection, especially in the feet and teats of the animal and this
may be well worth the use of any available treatments.

Previous outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Laos occurred in
several provinces during 2008 and the information is available in the
prior PRO/MBDS posting Foot & mouth disease - Laos (02):
Multiprovince, Alert 20081211.3892.

Viet Nam had also reported recent foot-and-mouth activity in Quang
Ninh province (see prior PRO/MBDS posting Foot & mouth disease,
bovine - Viet Nam (05): Quang Ninh 20090223.0753).

While the information above indicates that Laos and Viet Nam are
alerted, specific test results indicating virus isolation,
confirmation, and serotyping would be of great benefit in
transparency. Furthermore, it would help in the control and
prevention of FMD within and among countries in the region.

PRO/MBDS looks forward to seeing the reports on this outbreak and
especially details of the identification of the causal virus.

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