Lao veterinary authorities have sent an urgent notification to the Word Organisation for Animal Health on an outbreak of avian pandemic influenza in a village in the northwestern region, marking the return of the deadly virus in the country after five years.

The outbreak was reported to start on March 13 in Nator Nhay village in Xayabury province, which borders Thailand. The risk has now been eradicated, the notification said.

As many as 457 poultry from a flock of 5,142 were affected and destroyed, the report said.

According to the Provincial Health Department of Xayabury, a dozen of local farmers showed symptoms of influenza but no one tested positive to the H5N1 virus.

The Vientiane Times newspaper quoted sources from the department as saying that the poultry were transported from Luang Prabang after being imported from a neighbouring country.

The last H5N1 outbreak in Laos was in 2008.-VNA