Bird Flu strikes girl in Laos

The first human case of bird flu has been reported in the South-East Asian country of Laos the United Nations has revealed.

In a statement from the UN, released today, a spokesman said that the 15-year-old girl was currently in Nongkhai public hospital in neighbouring Thailand, where she remained in stable condition.

An area of Laos is being monitored by UN health agency officials following the most recent case, which brings the total number of States with human infections to one dozen, the UN report states.

The spokesman said that the Lao government was providing samples of the virus to a collaborating examination centre of the UN World Health Organisation (WHO), which was coordinating global efforts to monitor the disease for any possible mutations into a human pandemic.

In a related development, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) field workers and Afghan government veterinarian were seeking cases of unusual mortality in poultry and taking appropriate samples amid concerns over the re-introduction of the H5N1 bird flu virus into the Central Asian country.

This was due to outbreaks among poultry in neighbouring Pakistan, the UN spokesman added.

The spokesman said that the FAO had reported that geographically limited outbreaks among poultry had been recorded in border areas but they were so far controllable, given a vigorous response in terms of selective and appropriate quarantine, culling, disinfection and intensified surveillance.

It is reported by the UN that on average 2,000 vaccinations are carried out on a daily basis in the areas surrounding infected places. It is estimated that a total of 60,000 vaccinations will be performed in the next month in Jalalabad and the veterinary department in Jalalabad still has a stock of 140,000 vaccines available.

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