VIENTIANE, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Northern Lao province of Phongsaly has reported cases of the African swine fever, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.
The virus was first detected in southern Lao province of Salavan, some 670 km southeast of the capital Vientiane, then spread to parts of Vientiane, and Savannakhet Province, some 410 km east of Vientiane. Some 338 pigs have died in the latest outbreak in two districts of northmost Lao province of Phongsaly, some 732 km north of Vientiane.
On July 11, staff from the ao Agriculture and Forestry Office carried out checks and confirmed the presence of African swine fever in two villages of Khua district of Phongsaly Province.
The pigs that have died were owned by 35 families, so officials are now helping them to bury the carcasses and use disinfectant to prevent the disease spreading.
The report quoted senior official Kham-ard Vannavong from the agriculture and forestry department in Phongsaly province as saying that officials had also found the virus in Bounneua district but had not received any information about the number of pigs affected.
Villagers have been forbidden to transport or sell pigs in a bid to contain the outbreak, while the owners of dead pigs have been instructed to immediately bury them.
The Agriculture and Forestry Office has advised people not to eat the meat of dead pigs.
African swine fever cannot be passed from animals to humans, but people can spread the disease. The animal epidemic affects pigs and wild boars and has an almost 100 percent death rate. It requires high temperatures to kill the virus and it can survive up to three years in frozen meat and up to one year in dried meat.