Zoonotic viruses in rural Lao: collaboration project between FoA, VWB and IPL

Circulation of zoonotic viruses remains largely unknown and under-investigated in rural Laos, although these viruses can have dramatic impact on human and animal health (e.g. SARS, Influenza and Ebola virus). This is why, together with the Institute Pasteur Laos (IPL), we decided to expand the on-going Animal Health Monitoring by testing the collected samples also for different viruses with zoonotic potential. Dr Maude Pauly from the Luxembourg Institute of Health joined the experienced local team (composed of 3rd and 4th year veterinary students, teachers from the Faculty of Agriculture and VWB team) during the sample collection in April 2015. Moreover, she gave lectures about laboratory analyses, risk factors for zoonotic diseases, and zoonotic viruses. A workshop was also organized for the staff of the Faculty of Agriculture at the IPL to provide basic laboratory skills. Dr Maude highly appreciated the motivation of the collaboration partners and of course also the beauty of the country and the kindness and hospitality of its population… and also loved the sympathetic and straightforward “Bo penh nyang”(i.e. “No problem” or “never mind”)-mentality and will certainly come back!

The first phase of the project was a great success and more collaboration projects are currently being launched aiming at surveilling emergence and prevalence of zoonotic viruses and at developing efficient intervention strategies in order to hopefully prevent epidemics in the region. This is of course an ambitious objective, but we are determined to combine efforts and experience to succeed!

Amphone and Bouachan, two graduated vet students, assisting Dr Maude Pauly in the labZoonotic 1


Amphone and Maude after a successful sampling visit

Zoontic 2

Two third year vet students, Lattana and Phouddavanh, practising blood smears in the labZoonotic 3

A third year vet student, Khamxaixong, taking a nasal swab from a cow while the farmer restrains the animalZoonotic 4