Thailand Heightens Border Surveillance Amid Anthrax Reports in Laos

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Representational image: local residents selling animal meats in a market in Vientiane. (Photo: Lao Aussie Fresh Market)

Thailand has intensified its vigilance along the Thai-Laos border after receiving reports of anthrax outbreaks in local villages in Champasack Province, Laos.

In response to the emerging threat, the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has deployed a series of measures, including increased surveillance at animal checkpoints and readiness for vaccination campaigns. The Nation Thailand reported these developments as Thailand aims to contain the spread of anthrax and prevent its transmission across borders.

Anthrax, a severe bacterial infection caused by Bacillus anthracis, primarily affects animals but can also pose risks to human health. The bacteria are commonly found in soil and can be transmitted through contact with infected animals or their products.

Champasack Province has witnessed three confirmed cases of anthrax infection in a local village in Soukhoumma district. One individual, severely affected, has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the provincial hospital, as issued by the Agriculture and Forestry Office of Soukhoumma district on 4 March.

To prevent an outbreak, local authorities are urging all relevant sectors, including residents and small businesses, not to trade animals or their products outside the district. Moreover, cautionary measures advise against the consumption of meat from cows and buffaloes. Animal owners are encouraged to monitor their livestock closely and promptly report any suspicious symptoms to authorities.

To tackle the issue and curb animal-related diseases, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry of Champasack Province issued a notice on 7 March, directing local authorities to monitor and inspect all districts in the province for activities such as buying and selling livestock from affected and nearby areas.

Additionally, local authorities are urged to raise public awareness, enforce strict laws against violators, and disseminate notices to local communities to ensure adherence to preventive measures, emphasizing the importance of community cooperation in containing the outbreak.