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VIENTIANE -- Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has told ministries and local authorities to remain vigilant as they attempt to control the outbreaks of dengue fever and African swine fever in southern Laos' Salavan province.
The prime minister gave the advice during his visit to the southern province, some 670 km southeast of Vientiane, where severe dengue fever outbreak is occurring and African swine fever was firstly detected in Laos, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Friday.
African swine fever has spread to more than 13 provinces, infecting and killing thousands of pigs. Some 4,185 pigs developed African swine fever in Salavan's Toumlan district, which was the first district in the province to be affected, local authorities told the prime minister.
The pigs either died or were killed to curb the outbreak, which impacted farmers in 12 villages, according to an official accompanying the prime minister.
District authorities have been able to bring the outbreak under control.
Thongloun told pig farmers to wait for official confirmation that the disease had been wiped out before rebuilding their stocks.
Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is drafting a policy to help or compensate affected pig farmers and will submit the draft to the government for consideration. Thongloun told the ministry to work with district authorities to identify possible alternative forms of livestock that people could raise, such as goats and cattle.
African swine fever is an enduring virus. It requires high temperatures to kill and it can survive up to three years in frozen meat and up to one year in dried meat. The virus affects pigs and wild boars and has an almost 100 percent death rate. The virus cannot be passed from animals to humans.
In addition, Lao Health Minister Bounkong Syhavong, who was also accompanying the prime minister, told local people to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of dengue fever. He underlined the need to remove all possible mosquito breeding grounds and warned anyone with flu-like symptoms to see a doctor immediately.
Dengue fever is widespread in Laos and countries in the region in 2019, more than 20,000 people have been infected with the dengue virus and 53 people had died as of last Sunday, according to the country's health ministry report.