Authorities in Laos say they have detected the country's first outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in almost seven months.

Government spokesman Yong Chanthalangsy said Tuesday at least 17 birds have died of the virus in Non-Sawang, a village just outside the capital, Vientiane.

He said at least 1,000 birds have been killed in an effort to stop the virus from spreading.

The H5N1 virus usually affects poultry, but it has spread to humans in some cases. 167 people have died from the virus worldwide since 2003.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.