The 17-year-old boy's infection may have come from his contact with infected fighting birds, experts say. While most people have caught the disease from contact with birds, there have been cases where family members have passed the disease to each other. Health experts fear that the virus -- which has already killed more than 130 people since 2003 -- will soon mutate to a less deadly but more easily transmittable strain, leading to a global pandemic.
Laos has not reported a death from bird flu yet, but the recent outbreak has killed about 2,500 chickens on a farm about 15 miles from the capital Vientiane, the same area where bird flu led to the death of more than 140,000 chickens in 2004.
Laos, Thailand, and the other countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region -- Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar -- have been making progress curtailing the spread of H5N1. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization representative Leena Kirjavainen said both countries had acted quickly to control the new outbreaks.
"The response has been very good and very prompt and very, very open," Kirjavainen said. "Immediately when this outbreak happened they took immediate action - the bird flu teams and the Department of Livestock and (the) animal health centers."