Veterinarians in Laos are vaccinating more than 1,000 heads of cattle in a suburb of the capital Vientiane, after hundreds of the animals died from a recent outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease, according to the head of government’s livestock and fisheries department.
Bounkhouang Khambounheuang, director general of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, told RFA’s Lao Service that he had dispatched workers with more than 1,000 doses of a hoof-and-mouth vaccine to prevent the disease from spreading beyond the suburb of Naxaythong.
“We’ve assigned the chief of the hygiene control division to resolve the problem,” he said. “We must separate the sick animals and administer 1,000 vaccines to others to control the spread of the disease. The veterinarian team is now occupying the field.”
Bounkhouang said his department was working with public health officials and district authorities to control the spread of the highly infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals.
Veterinarians are collecting samples from the field to diagnose and identify the kinds of disease to determine whether it is a seasonal outbreak or it has come from neighboring countries, he said, adding that the disease cannot be transmitted to humans.
“To control it from spreading to other areas, we are prohibiting people from moving their cattle and informing people not to eat meat from the animals that have died,” Bounkhouang said.
A veterinarian working in the field in Naxsaythong, who declined to be named, told RFA that the outbreak occurred two weeks ago in 16 villages throughout the district and had killed more than 400 heads of cattle and goats.
Neither officials from the Department of Livestock and Fisheries nor other veterinarians in Naxsaythong had released details about the number of dead animals, she said. The incident also has not been reported by local media.
A serious outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease hit the district in 2008, the veterinarian said, adding that families and villagers in Naxaythong do not feed their cattle on farms but let them graze naturally.